February 26, 2010

Unison Capital Invests in MK Capital

Unison Capital has announced that it will acquire a 61.3% stake in MK Capital Management (TSE Mothers 2478), a real estate related finance and asset management company, through a private placement of new shares for JPY 2.5 billion (USD 27.7 million). MK will maintain its listing status.

Tokio Marine Capital Acquires Bushu Pharmaceuticals

Tokio Marine Capital has announced that it will acquire a 100% stake in Bushu Pharmaceuticals, a provider of drug manufacturing services, from Shionogi Pharmaceuticals (TSE4507). Bushu, the second largest CMO (Contract Manufacturing Organizaion) in Japan, recorded an annual operating profit of JPY 1.09 billion (USD 12.1 million) and annual sales of JPY 9.3 billion (USD 103 million) for the March 2009 period. No other financial terms were disclosed.

February 24, 2010

J-Will Partners to sell nursing home operator Bon Sejour

J-Will Partners will sell its 100% stake in Bon Sejour, a Tokyo-based nursing home operator, to Benesse (TSE9783), a provider of educational services. Bon Sejour operates 22 nursing homes mainly in the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan area. Benesse operates 150 nursing homes through its subsidiary. No financial terms were disclosed. J-Will originally acquired Bon Sejour from real estate company ZECS (TSE8913) in 2008.

Ant Capital sells Honma Golf to a Chinese Company

Golf club maker Honma Golf Co. will go under the umbrella of Marion Holdings Ltd., a holding company backed by Chinese firms, according to Nikkei. Ant Capital Partners Co. and Milestone Turnaround Management will by the end of March sell more than 50% of Homma's shares to Marion, which counts among its shareholders investment firm Crest Group Co.. The Chinese golf market is expected to grow as the country's economy develops. Honma will seek to expand through its ties with Marlion's shareholders. Honma filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005 and completed court-led rehabilitation proceedings the following year. Chinese companies are showing an increasing appetite for Japanese investment. Retail giant Suning Appliance Co. bought Tokyo-based elecronics retailer Laox Co. last August.

February 23, 2010

30 Financial Institutions Holds Willcom Claims

As reported, PHS (personal handyphone system) service provider Willcom, which filed for bankruptcy protection with the Tokyo District Court on Thursday, aims to rebuild itself with help from the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp. of Japan. A total of 30 financial institutions hold a combined 99.5 billion yen in unsecured claims such as loans to Willcom., with the four largest lenders accounting for nearly 70% of the total. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., a unit of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, holds the largest amount at 23.6 billion yen. Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Norinchukin Bank and Mitsubuishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp. each hold claims topping 10 billion yen. They will be asked to grant waivers for as much as 80%.

February 19, 2010

Sekisui House Breaks Into REITs Market

Japan's leading homebuilder Sekisui House will acquire a mid-sized real estate investment trust company to enter into the REIT sector, according to Nikkei. Sekisui House will buy a 75% interest in Joint Capital Partners Co., the operator of Joint Reit Investment Corp., for an estimated several billion yen. Spring Investment Co., the Japanese arm of an Australian real estate investment fund, will also take a stake. Joint Reit Investment has more than 100 billion yen in total assets. Its former parent, real estate developer Joint Corp., went bankrupt last May. Sekisui House aims to increase the unit's assets to around 200 billion yen, using its holdings of rental properties. This merger is likely to stimulate the long-depressed REIT market.

February 18, 2010

Willcom To File For Bankruptcy Under Prepackaged Deal

Willcom Inc., the beleaguered PHS (personal hanyphone system) service provider, will file for bankruptcy protection with the Tokyo District Court on Thursday, initiating a pre-negotiated rebuilding processes that will tap taxpayer money, according to Nikkei. Willcom's rehabilitation efforts will be sponsored by Softbank Corp., one of the big three carriers and investment fund Advantage Partners LLP. The government-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp. of Japan, or ETIC is expected to officially declare its support for Willcom as early as next week, making the PHS service provider the second firm to receive its help, after Japan Airlines Corp.

February 16, 2010

Japan 4Q GDP grows at 4.6% annual pace

The government announced Monday that real gross product grew at an annual pace of 4.6% in the October-December period. The average forecast was around 3.4%. The figure corresponds to quarterly growth of 1.1% while it was zero growth in the July-September period. While exports, aided by a global recovery, led the expansion that supported manufacturers, the increase of consumer spending may not last as the effect of the stimulus fades.

February 15, 2010

Shinsei, Aozora Call Off Merger

Shinsei Bank and Aozora Bank have decided not to merge in October as planned after failing to come together on a business strategy, according to Nikkei. The merger will either be abandoned or postponed indefinitely. Both sides will craft plans for strengthening operations on their own before announcing the deal's collapse. Shinsei wants to expand its retail operations, including nonbanking financing, while Aozora is more keen on working with regional banks.

February 10, 2010

Sumitomo Corp Prepares Tender Offer For J-Com

Sumitomo Corp. is preparing to launch a tender offer for a bigger equity stake in Jupiter Telecommunication Co., or JCOM, according to Nikkei. The trading house holds a 27.7% stake in JCOM as the second-largest shareholder behind the U.S. company Liberty Global Inc. KDDI announced last month that it intends to buy a large portion of Liberty's 37.8% interest in the cable company. KDDI's surprise bid for a major stake in JCOM upset Sumitomo's firm intention of beefing up its media business throough JCOM.

February 09, 2010

Kirin, Suntory breaks off merger talks (2)

News release from Suntory:
Though Suntory Holdings Limited had been in discussion with Kirin Holdings Company, Limited toward integration of businesses, Suntory hereby announces that Suntory has terminated our negotiation with Kirin. Suntory decided on terminating the negotiation because while Suntory has studied what the integrated new company should be, Suntory acknowledged a discrepancy of understandings between the two companies including the integration ratio and considered it difficult to realize the desired new integrated company Suntory is seeking.

February 08, 2010

Kirin, Suntory breaks off merger talks

Kirin Holdings Company, Limited (Kirin), which has been in merger negotiations with Suntory Holdings Limited (Suntory), today announced that the negotiations have been terminated. Kirin had been negotiating on the premise that the new entity would be managed as a listed company in order to ensure appropriate management independence and transparency. However, it became apparent that Suntory held a different view on this matter, and Kirin determined that even if negotiations were to continue, they were unlikely to result in the establishment of a company that would fulfill Kirin's aim of developing as a leading global company and earn the understanding and approval of Kirin's domestic and overseas customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders. Kirin therefore resolved to terminate the negotiations.

February 05, 2010

Overseas Demand Boosts Earnings Recovery in Oct-Dec Quarter

Buoyed by strong demand in overseas markets, earnings at listed companies are bouncing back, with firms that derive the bulk of their sales abroad leading the pack. Companies relying on foreign markets for 50% or more of their sales saw their combined pretax profit skyrocket 450% on the year in the October-December quarter, according to calculations by The Nikkei. Firms with 30-50% of sales generated abroad logged a smaller but still strong gain of 140%.

February 04, 2010

18 Brokerages Had Better Oct-Dec Qtr On Net Basis In 09

Eighteen of 20 major and midsize brokerages reported year-on-year improvement in net loss or profit figures for the October-December quarter of 2009, according to Nikkei. A recovery in investment trust sales and a sharp pickup in underwriting fees from listed companies' public offerings contributed. But because of a slowdown in revenue from stock-trading commissions, a full-fledged earnings recovery by the brokerages could take more time.

February 03, 2010

FSA Investigates KDDI for its Plan To Buy JCOM Shares

The Financial Services Agency is looking into KDDI's plan to acquire a stake in Jupitar Telecommunication Co. to determine whether the deal falls under a market rule mandating a tender offer, according to Nikkei. KDDI said on Jan. 25 that it will take a stake in Japan's cable television company, known as JCOM, in mid-February. The plan call for obtaining a 37.8% interest by acquiring three firms under the umbrella of US media firm Liberty Global Inc. that each own JCOM shares. The FSA is looking at whether the deal falls under a Financial Instruments and Exchange Law provision requiring a company to conduct a tender offer when buying more than a third of the voting rights in another firm outside of the stock market. At first glance, KDDI's proposed move appears to raise no legal issues because it is not acquiring the stake directly. But some have pointed out that the telecom giant is effectively acquiring a stake exceeding one-third of the voting rights through an off-market transaction. The FSA will interview those involved in the deal to determine if it will compromise the interests of ordinary investors.

February 02, 2010

Citigroup Ready To Bolster Japan Ops.

Citigroup Inc. will reinvigorate its commercial banking operations in Japan by opening four new locations this year, according to a Nikkei interview with CEO Vikram Pandit. After incurring massive losses in the global financial crisis, the US financial giant scaled back its presence in Japan by unloading Nikko Cordial Securities Inc. and shrinking its consumer finance operations. Calling Japan the center of the rapidly growing Asian economy, Pandit said that Citi will bolster its commercial banking operations here, under which it currently runs 31 local branches.

February 01, 2010

Shinsei, Aozora Bank Mulling Delaying Planned Merger-Report

Shinsei Bank Ltd. and Aozora Bank are considering their merger - currently planned for October - after hitting a snag over which bank system to adopt, according to the weekendMainichi Shinbun. The paper said the Financial Service Agency is inspecting the banks financial affairs, and based on the results of the inspection, the two banks plan to make a final decision by the end of March.