Japanese government prepares to sell shares in Japan Tobacco

| February 21, 2013

The Japanese government’s sale of a $10 billion stake in Japan Tobacco Inc. is expected to kick off within days after bankers met on Tuesday to discuss details of  the sale, according to a Reuters story quoting ‘sources close to the deal’.

Japan’s Ministry of Finance, which owns just more than 50 per cent of the company, has been planning to sell up to one-third of its holdings to raise funds for rebuilding areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that struck the country on March 11, 2011.

Japan’s parliament in 2011 passed a set of bills including those providing for tax hikes and government sales of its shares in state-owned companies to help finance the $270 billion it expects to spend rebuilding the northeast coastal areas where the earthquake and tsunami hit.

The conditions for a sell-down have improved in recent months, with Japan’s stock market rising by more than 30 per cent during the past three months and JT’s shares up 36 per cent.

Government officials were quoted by Reuters as saying the timing for the sale had not been decided. However, the estimated proceeds of a sale were incorporated into the budget for the fiscal year to the end of March.

Japanese law requires that the government holds at least one-third of JT’s shares.

Category: Breaking News

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