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Feb 16, 2012

Japan assets may impede ING’s Asia sale

HONG KONG/TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – ING’s Japan unit
is proving to be a stumbling block in the auction of its Asia
insurance business that is expected to fetch more than
6 billion euros, with sources saying the Dutch group may have no
choice but to retain the Japan unit for now.

Japan is one of ING’s two biggest Asian operations,
so what becomes of it in the event of a sale is important.
The concern has to do with the 18 billion euros worth of
high-guarantee variable annuity policies the Japan operation has
on the books.

Feb 15, 2012

SMFG: few assets being offered at attractive prices

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it has been fielding lots of asset offers, about $100 billion worth since early last year, but attractive deals are few and far between as European banks were not desperate enough to embark on a fire sale.

SMFG and other Japanese banks are well positioned to snap up assets being shed by European players as they have little exposure to the region’s sovereign debt woes and access to cheaper funding.

Feb 14, 2012

Japan SMBC’s bid for WestLB assets fails – sources

HONG KONG/TOKYO, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Talks between
Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) and WestLB
over the sale of the German bank’s corporate lending business
have collapsed mainly due to differences over valuations, two
sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

SMBC had submitted a final bid earlier in February which
landed short of the expectations of WestLB’s owners — regional
savings banks and the German state of North Rhine Westphalia.

Feb 2, 2012

Top Japan bank plans for JGB sell-off, no near-term shift seen

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s top banking group, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (8306.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), has drawn up a contingency plan that flags 2016 as the time when the nation’s current account may slide into deficit and trigger a government bond sell-off, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Asahi newspaper said a plan prepared by a unit of the group — Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ — late last year estimated that 10-year bond yields could rise to around 3.5 percent in about four years’ time from about 1 percent today.

Feb 1, 2012

MUFG Q3 profit falls 39 pct, hurt by tax write-down

TOKYO, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group (MUFG), Japan’s biggest bank by assets, posted a
39 percent fall in third-quarter net profit on Wednesday, hurt
by a tax asset write-down and weak lending at home.

While MUFG and Japanese rivals continue to see weak loan
demand at home, where lending by the big banks fell in December
for the 26th month in a row and businesses keep a tight rein on
spending, they are seeing solid growth in overseas loan
balances, helped partly by a retrenchment by European banks.

Feb 1, 2012

month profit jumps on Morgan Stanley stake

TOKYO (Reuters) – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) (8306.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Japan’s biggest bank by assets, posted a 39 percent fall in third-quarter net profit on Wednesday, hurt by a tax asset write-down and weak lending at home.

While MUFG and Japanese rivals continue to see weak loan demand at home, where lending by the big banks fell in December for the 26th month in a row and businesses keep a tight rein on spending, they are seeing solid growth in overseas loan balances, helped partly by a retrenchment by European banks.

Jan 31, 2012

Mizuho Q3 profit falls 80 pct, hurt by write-down

TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Mizuho Financial Group
, Japan’s No. 2 lender by assets, posted an 80 percent
drop in quarterly net profit, squeezed by a tax asset write-down
and as lending among major banks in Japan fell in December for a
26th month in a row.

With little exposure to Europe’s troubled sovereign bonds
and less dependent on volatile investment banking, Mizuho and
its Japanese rivals are better positioned to take advantage from
a retrenchment by European lenders under pressure to shore up
their capital.

Jan 30, 2012

Hirano named head of MUFG bank unit, nears top job

TOKYO, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group named on Monday its deputy president Nobuyuki
Hirano as head of its core banking unit, a move that is likely
to accelerate its push overseas and one that presages Hirano’s
expected ascent to lead the entire company.

Hirano has been a key player in many strategic
moves for Japan’s biggest bank, including its alliance with
Morgan Stanley.

Jan 30, 2012

SMFG Q3 profit flat; domestic lending weak

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said October-December net profit growth was virtually flat from the previous year, with bond trading gains and smaller credit costs helping to offset weak domestic lending, and it kept its forecast for an annual net profit of 500 billion yen ($6.5 billion).

With little exposure to Europe’s troubled sovereign debt markets and less dependent than others on volatile investment banking, SMFG and local rivals Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) (8306.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) are better placed to push overseas by buying up assets that are being shed by their under-pressure western peers.

Jan 25, 2012

Japan utilities may return to bonds as $19 bln debt matures

TOKYO, Jan 25 (Reuters) – Japan’s electricity
utilities may resume issuing bonds to help roll over $19 billion
worth of corporate debt that matures next fiscal year, but the
bulk of their funding will still come from loans.

The utilities were virtually shut out of the bond market
last year amid a series of credit rating downgrades and as the
radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant led to
the shutdown of nuclear reactors.