June 30, 2010

Jobless Rate Inched Up To 5.2% In May

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry announced that Japan's unemployment rate rose for the third straight month in May, up a seasonally adjusted 0.1% points from April to 5.2%. It may reflect companies' cautious stance about adding payrolls due to uncertain economic prospects amid Europe's sovereign debt woes. Japan's jobless rate hit an all-time high of 5.6% in July last year. It fell below 5.0% in January for the first time in 10 months, before rising back above the line in March.

June 29, 2010

SBI and Jefferies Collaborate To Launch Funds

SBI Holding Inc., a Tokyo-based financial conglomerate, announced that SBI and Jefferies Group Inc. reached a final agreement to jointly establish the 2 funds. The fund, " Jefferies-SBI USA Fund" will target promising private companies in the US. Its initial commitment will be US 150 million, with SBI and Jefferies each contributing half. The other one, " SBI-Jefferies Asia Fund", focuses on attractive companies in Asia, regardless of whether there are listed or not. The initial commitment will be US 50 million (80% by SBI and 20% by Jefferies).

June 28, 2010

Fortress Plan Y20bn Bad Loan Fund For Japan Investors

Fortress Investment Group will seek to raise more than 20 billion yen for a distressed debt fund exclusively for Japanese investors, according to Nikkei. The yen-denominated fund will buy non-performing loans at a discount from financial institutions and governments world wide and aim to deliver an annual return of about 20%.

June 25, 2010

Orix To Invest Y10bn In Tokyo Star Bank

Orix Corporation, a listed leasing-centered conglomerate, announced that Orix will invest 10 billion yen in Tokyo Star Bank, a Tokyo-based regional bank, by way of non-voting preferred shares and a business alliance. Tokyo Star Bank will use the capital to strengthen its financial base and enhance its revenue base. Both companies will take the opportunity to pursue future alliances in other business areas. Tokyo Star Bank was acquired by Advantage Partners, a Tokyo-based investment firm in March 2008.

June 23, 2010

Wise Partner To Sponsor Bankrupt Electrical Appliance Maker

Izumi Product Company which filed for chapter 11 last August announced that Wise Partners, a Tokyo-based investment firm, will sponsor and make the business-transfer agreement with Izumi. Izumi, a Nagano-based manufacturer, specializes in precision machining and grinding.

June 22, 2010

2 Mid-sized REITs To Merge

Canal Investment Trust Co., Ltd the asset management company of Crescendo Investment Company announced that Canal Investment has decided to acquire all the shares of Japan Single-Residence Asset Management Corp. from Apamanshop Sublease Co., Ltd., Lehman Brothers Investments Japan Inc. and K.K. daVinci Holdings. Crescendo invests in office buildings and rental housing while Japan Single-Residence focuses on rental accommodations and hotels.

June 21, 2010

Fuji Food To Go Private Via MBO With Valiant

Fuji Food Co., a Tokyo-based producer & distributor of cooked rice, delicatessens sandwiches etc, announced that a vehicle managed by Valiant Partners, a mid-sized investment firm, will conduct a tender offer at 500 yen a share. It is a 24.4% premium over its six-month average. The acquisition cost would be around 7 billion yen.

June 18, 2010

Kaneka Buys Belgium Biologics Maker

Kaneka Co., a chemical-oriented conglomerite, announced that it has spent 4 billion yen to acquire a majority stake of Eurogentec SA, a Belgian manufacturer of proteins, ligonucleotides and other biologics. Kaneka has a contracted pharmaceuticals manufacturer. It has been developing R&D to produce biopharmaceutical ingredients. Through acquiring Eurogenetic, Kaneka intends to jump-start the business.

June 17, 2010

Kawasaki Kisen Buys US Distribution Firm

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisya Ltd., one of the major ship operators, announced that it has spent about 2 billion yen to acquire a 51% stake in Air Tiger Express Companies., making the US logistics firm a subsidiary. Air Tiger is the US-based logistics service provider with Chinese companies as its major customers. It employs 750 people and had sales of around 15 billion yen in 2009.

June 15, 2010

BOJ Unveils $3.3bn Loan Scheme

The Bank of Japan has announced that it will plan to provide up to 3 trillion yen in low interest loans in an effort to spur economic growth. The bank will make the money available to commercial banks to encourage them to lend more to private businesses. Firms in 18 growth sectors including healthcare, environment and energy, tourism, science and technology as well as agriculture, forestry and fisheries will be targeted by the scheme. The plan accompanied the Bank of Japan's decision to keep its key interest rate near zero. The eight-member policy board voted unanimously to leave the overnight call rate target at 0.1%. The bank has not touched the rate since December 2008.

June 14, 2010

KKR is nearing to acquire recruiting company Intelligence

U.S buyout fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has reportedly won the negotiating right to acquire recruitment business unit Intelligence from USEN (HCS 4842).

USEN, the leading cable broadcaster, is in the process of restructuring its business and has been looking for a buyer of the business unit through a bidding process.

June 10, 2010

Mizuho Capital Partners To Acquire Medical Tribune

Mizuho Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Medical Tribune, a publisher of medical weekly newspapers, from Impress HD (TSE9479) for JPY 5.3 billion (USD 58 million). Medical Tribune, which has 110,000 subscribers, recorded annual sales of JPY 4.9 billion (USD 54 million) and operating profits of JPY 0.65 billion (7.1 million) for the March 2010 period.

In 2003 Medical Tribune completed its first MBO from its German parent company with JAFCO as a MBO sponsor. It was acquired by Impress in 2005, but its management will look for an IPO opportunity again with Mizuho Capital Partners' sponsorship.

June 09, 2010

April Machinery Orders Rose 4%

Japan's core machinery orders rose 4.0% in April, marking the second straight monthly gain after a 5.4% increase in March.

A 15.4% rise in orders from the transport industry was the major contributor. Distribution companies are looking to buy more trucks, suggesting that a recovery in corporate investment is spreading into wider industry segments. Firms in steel industries are beefing up their production capacities, giving a knock-on effect on domestic demand. Orders in the information services industry also rose by 16.9% as firms purchased communications equipment for business use.

Machinery orders account for about 15% of Japan's gross domestic product.

June 03, 2010

Foreigners Net Sellers Of Japan Stocks 4th Straight Week

Foreign investors were net sellers of Japanese stock for the week of May 23-29, marking the fourth straight week of outflow, according to The Ministry of Finance data. The Nikkei lost ground amid uncertainty over the European economy and mounting diplomatic tension on the Korean Peninsula. On the other hand, Japanese investors were net buyers of medium-long term overseas bonds as well as overseas stocks.

June 02, 2010

Riverside Asia Bought Maker of Crystal Oscillator

Riverside Partners KK, a global private equity firm, announced that Riverside Asia FundⅠacquired 100% of shares of NAKA & Co., a Yokohama-based manufacturer of high-end crystal oscillators. Riverside will help NAKA beef up global marketing with Riverside's international connections.

June 01, 2010

Core CPI Down 1.5% On Year In April

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced last week that the core consumer price index was down 1.5% in April, falling for the 14th consecutive month. Overall CPI was down 1.2% from 1.1% in the previous month. The price for education plunged 6.6%, which pushed down the core CPI by half a percentage point, because of the government's decision to scrap public high school tuition fees.