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Fujitsu valuation drops by $1bn amid Post Office scandal scrutiny

Fujitsu market valuation drops after Post Office scandal backlash
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Japanese IT company Fujitsu’s market valuation has dropped by more than $1bn since December as outrage over its role in the Post Office scandal continues.

A recent drop in Fujitsu shares has left the company with a market capitalisation of $27.09bn, down from the $28.41bn just one month prior amid scrutiny of Fujitsu’s other UK government contracts.

The scandal saw hundreds of Post Office subpostmasters and postmistresses wrongfully convicted of theft due to software errors in Fujitsu’s Horizon IT system, which made it look as though money was missing from branches.

Between 1999 and 2015, 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted for offences such as theft, fraud and false accounting. Thousands more have been affected.

Despite a landmark High Court victory in 2019 showing that Horizon’s software was flawed, only 93 have had their convictions overturned, with some committing suicide or not living to see justice.

Following widespread public outcry from ITV’s dramatisation, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, the government has said it will introduce legislation quashing all convictions. Plans have also been drawn up to provide sufficient compensation to victims after previous payouts were deemed inadequate.

Fujitsu’s other contracts with the UK government are now uner intense scrutiny. The UK is one of the Tokyo-headquartered company’s key markets.

Fujitsu currently has more than £2bn worth of contracts with the UK government, holding the status of a key strategic supplier.

Fujitsu secured 101 of these contracts since the ruling that the sub-postmasters convicted were at no fault. Its UK division reported £22m in profits, according to Fujitsu’s most recent accounts.

The government has been urged by a public outcry to review these contracts in departments such as the Home Office, Department for Work and Pensions and HMRC, which net Fujitsu millions in taxpayer money every year.

The Scottish government agreed to review contracts given to the company, including a deal from 2020 for electronic vote counting in local elections.

“The current Post Office Horizon IT statutory inquiry is examining complex events stretching back over 20 years to understand who knew what, when, and what they did with that knowledge,” a Fujitsu spokesperson told UKTN.

“The inquiry has reinforced the devastating impact on postmasters’ lives and that of their families, and Fujitsu has apologised for its role in their suffering. Fujitsu is fully committed to supporting the inquiry in order to understand what happened and to learn from it. Out of respect for the Inquiry process, it would be inappropriate for Fujitsu to comment further at this time.”

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