October 30, 2009

Japan Retail REIT, LaSalle Japan REIT To Merge In March

Japan Retail Fund Investment Corp(JRF) and LaSalle Japan REIT Inc. announced that they will integrate operations next March. The deal is the second domestic merger between two listed REITs, and will create the second largest listed REIT in Japan. JRF, which is managed by Mitsubishi Corp.-UBS Realty Inc., will absorb LaSalle with an equity swap and the residential and office buildings in LaSalle's portfolio will be sold so that the fund can focus on commercial properties.

October 29, 2009

Broadleaf To Do MBO with Carlyle

Broadleaf Co., Ltd. a provider of system packages for automotive industry businesses announced that ITX Corporation and Olympus Corporation agreed to sell all their shares to the Carlyle group, a global private equity firm. After Carlyle purchased a 100% stake of the system provider, it stated that it plans to do a MBO with Carlyle later on.

October 28, 2009

Sumitomo Trust, Chuo Mitsui Trust To Merge In '11

Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. and Chuo Mitsui Trust Holding Inc. have decided to integrate operations, with the merger most likely to come in spring 2011, according to Nikkei. The move would create Japan's largest trust bank, and the fifth-largest banking group overall.

October 27, 2009

Banks Anxious About Mortgage Payment Delay

An increasing number of mortgage borrowers are finding it difficult to keep up with their payments as they see their incomes decline because of the sluggish performance of their employer firms, according to Nikkei. Private financial institutions held a combined mortgage balance of around 111 trillion yen as of the end of August, around a quarter of their total loans, according to the Bank of Japan. These banks have become increasingly concerned because they could suffer huge losses if there is a sharp increase in mortgage payment delays.

October 26, 2009

Many Upgraded Corp. Earnings For 1H

The relatively large number of companies have upgraded their pretax earnings estimate for the first half ended September suggests that corporate performances are gradually recovering, according to a Nikkei survey. Of the 2,380 firms polled, 522 upgraded their earnings estimates for the period as of Saturday, while 349 firms made downgrades. Companies will start announcing their first-half results in earnest this week. The survey covered listed nonfinancial firms that end their fiscal years in March and have not yet announced their half-year results. About 40% of the firms that made upward revisions said their sales will either match or fall below their earlier expectation, indicating that many of them squeezed out profits as a result of restrcturing.

October 23, 2009

Jafco Saw Revenues Fall 49% for 1H

Jafco Co., a Tokyo-based leading venture capital firm announced that it logged an 800 million yen group loss for the April-September term. This was the first red ink in six halves. Revenues plunged 49% year on year to 7.1 billion yen because the company saw only 3 domestic and overseas initial public offerings among its investments. Earnings were also weighed down by losses on stock sales and by an increase in investment loss reserves.

October 22, 2009

JAL Task Force Mulls Over Rehab Plan

The government task force crafting rehabilitation plans for Japan Airlines Corp. is asking the Development Bank of Japan to provide more than 50 billion yen in debt waivers and debt-for equity swaps, according to Nikkei. With a public fund injection being considered as a likely option, the task force is pressing creditors to agree to debt relief so that a viable rehabilitation plan can be hammered out for the beleaguered airline operator. Under the rehab plan, JAL would pare back 45-50 loss-laden domestic and overseas routes by the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015. In addition, the airline would be forced to slash its work force by nearly 9,000 and halve its subsidiaries and affiliates, which totaled around 290 firms as of March 31. JAL's lenders are pressuring the task force to lobby the government to lower Japan's airport usage fees and other charges that are high compared to overseas counterparts.

October 21, 2009

Japan Post's Nishikawa To Resign

Japan Post President Yoshifumi Nishikawa announced that he would tender his resignation at a board meeting scheduled for October 28. Nishikawa spoke at a press conference saying, "There is a big difference between what I have already done and intend to do for the privatization of the Japan Post group and the new government's policy to revoke the current law to privatize the Japan Post and reorganize the group's structure."

October 20, 2009

Kansai Elec To Buy Real Estate Firm From Fund

Kansai Electric Power Co. will purchase real estate firm MID Urban Development Co. from property fund Aetos Japan LLC at an estimated price of more than 10 billion yen, according to Nikkei. MID Urban Development Co, an ex-real estate affiliate of the Panasonic Group, develops office buildings and condominiums and manages real estate investment funds. While MID has seen earnings deteriorate amid the property market slump since last year, Kansai Electric, Japan's second largest electric power company, is in the real estate business through a subsidiary that sells condos, generating about 40 billion yen in sales for this segment. By acquiring 80% of the MID Urban shares held by Aetos Japan, the utility aims to obtain property development know-how and accelerate its push for all-electric houses.

October 19, 2009

Sumitomo Trust, Axa To Set Up Y100bn Real Estate Fund

Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co. and French insurance giant Axa Group have teamed up to launch an investment fund targeting real estate in Japan, according to Nikkei. Japanese and overseas investors are expected to put up 50 billion yen for the fund. In addition, financial institutions will likely provide 50 billion yen in loans. With 100 billion yen at its disposal, it is expected to become one of the largest real estate funds established since the global financial crisis deepened last fall. Investment will begin as early as the first half of next year, focusing on office buildings in central Tokyo. Sumitomo Trust and Axa see these properties undervalued and plan to pour money into buildings that would bring an annual yield of 6-7%.

October 16, 2009

Tochigi Firms Won't Invest In Nomura-led Ashikaga Holdings

Businesses in Ashikaga Bank's home prefecture have decided to forgo investment in the bank's stock holding company, according to Nikkei. Ashikaga Holding Co.'s top shareholder, Nomura Financial Partners agreed with Tochigi Prefecture and a local business association to stop soliciting investments from local firms, citing funding difficulty amid the economic slump. Aiming to list Ashikaga Holdings on a stock exchange in fiscal 2010, Nomura Financial Partners had sought 5-10 billion yen investments from local companies.

October 15, 2009

Toyota Tsusho To Turn Sock Maker Into Subsidiary

Toyota Tsusho Corp., the sole trading firm of Toyota Group, announced that it will turn Fukusuke Corp. a major sock manufacturer into a subsidiary as part of its expansion beyond its automobile business. The trading firm currently has a 23.2% stake in Fukusuke. It plans to boost this to 75.2% at the end of the month by buying all of the Fukusuke shares held by MKS Partners, a Tokyo-based investment firm which stops new investment and focuses on selling its portfolio.

October 13, 2009

Integral To Sponsor Bankrupted Yohji Yamamoto Inc

Integral, a Tokyo-based investment firm, announced that it has agreed to sponsor both Yohji Yamamoto Inc. and Limi Yamamoto Inc. which filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors on October 9, 2009. Integral will set up a SPC to acquire businesses from internationally respected, high-end clothing brands. Mr. Yoshihiro Henmi of Integral, who was the former vice president of Adidas Japan will become chairman of the new Yohji Yamamoto Inc. and Limi Yamamoto Inc.

October 09, 2009

MUL Principal Investment Bought Tarami From Fund

MUL Principal Invetement Co., an investment unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co. purchased all shares of Tarami, a Nagasaki-based manufacturer of fruit jelly products from Sun Capital, a US investment fund who decided to leave Japan, according to Nikkan Kogyo newspaper. It was the first deal for MUL Principal Investment, which spent 7~8 billion yen for the deal and plans to deliver the board members as well as expand its fruit-jelly business.

October 08, 2009

Mitsubishi To Pump $2bn Into US Bank Subsidiary

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MUFG) announced that it has decided to inject $2 billion into Union Bank NA, its wholly owned US unit. Union Bank NA saw its bad-loan losses skyrocket to $690 million in the January-June half-year period. Through the capital injection, MUFG will put the California-based bank's financial standing on par with its US rivals.

October 07, 2009

Italian Brand Versace To Leave Japan

Italian designer brand Gianni Versace Spa will liquidate its Japanese unit by the end of the year, according to Nikkei. Gianni Versace Japan Co. had imported Versace products and sold them in Japan mainly through directly run stores but the recent global economic downturn apparently dealt the famed fashion house a severe blow. The Italian parent has been undergoing restructuring, including a management reshuffling this summer.

October 06, 2009

Nomura To Raise Capital For Global Expansion

Nomura Holding Inc. announced that it would raise capital through a public issuance of new shares last month. As the offering was equivalent to about 29% of the outstanding float of stock, investors once sold the shares on dilution concerns, but later repurchased them after learning of very high demand from overseas investors. The largest securities house said Monday that it will issue stock at 568 yen per share and receive fresh capital of as much as 432.8 billion yen. Nomura aims to use proceeds for investments in growth fields in the US and other markets.

October 05, 2009

SBI Fund To Launch Tender Offer For Narumiya Int'l

SBI Holding Inc. announced that its investment fund will launch a tender offer to buy an additional stake in Narumiya International Co., a major children's and toddlers' wear retailer, boosting the fund's stake in the company to 100% from the current 58%. The SBI Value Up fund will buy Narumiya at 45,000 yen per share, with total costs of about 1.14 billion yen. Narumiya said that it has agreed to the tender offer and its shares will be delisted from the Jasdaq Securities Exchange.

October 01, 2009

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Aioi and Nissay Dowa Merge

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group Holdings Inc., Aioi Insurance Co. and Nissay Dowa General Insurance Co. reached an agreement on their business integration. The companies plan to integrate operations next April under a holding company named MS&AD Insurance Group Holding Inc. It will be Japan's largest non-life insurance company by premium revenue. Mitsui Sumitomo President Toshiaki Egashira will become the holding company's president.