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Jul 31, 2014

Japan’s top banks see profits fall on fading stock boom

TOKYO (Reuters) – Two of Japan’s three biggest banks saw profits fall at double-digit rates in the first quarter as gains in the value of shares the banks’ owned grew at a far slower rate than last year, when government pro-growth pledges sparked a share price surge.

The biggest lender, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) (8306.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), however, reported only a modest decline after managing to build on last year’s stock-related gains.

Jul 30, 2014

SMFG Q1 profit falls 20 pct as Abenomics stock boom fades

TOKYO, July 30 (Reuters) – Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
Inc (SMFG) reported a 20 percent decline in quarterly
profit as gains in the value of stock holdings paled in
comparison with the year prior, when prices rose after
government promises of economic growth.

Japan’s No.3 bank by assets profited, like its rivals, from
a stock market surge after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office
at the end of 2012 pledging aggressive growth measures. But
price moves have become less pronounced as sentiment toward
“Abenomics” cooled.

Jul 3, 2014

Mizuho management is too far from front line -new chairwoman

TOKYO, July 3 (Reuters) – Mizuho Financial Group Inc’s
new board chairwoman, who was appointed to improve
governance after a mob loan scandal, said top management had
become too distant from the front line.

The Japanese bank was reprimanded in September for failing
to act two years after learning that a subsidiary had extended
loans to “anti-social forces” – a euphemism for organised crime.

Jun 4, 2014

Sapporo to revamp popular Goku Zero drink after tax snag

TOKYO, June 4 (Reuters) – Beermaker Sapporo Holdings Ltd
said on Wednesday it will tweak the production process
for its Goku Zero beer-like drink and relaunch it following a
tax snag that may cost the group an extra 11.6 billion yen ($113
million) in liquor taxes.

Japan’s fourth-largest brewer said tax authorities had
requested data on the production methods for Goku Zero, which is
classified as “third beer”, a drink made from malt alternatives
or a mix of low-malt beer and other alcohol, and taxed at barely
one-third the rate of regular beers.

Jun 4, 2014

Japan’s Dai-ichi Life agrees to buy Protective Life for $5.7 bln

TOKYO, June 4 (Reuters) – Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co
has agreed to buy U.S. peer Protective Life for
$5.7 billion, the largest acquisition by a Japanese insurer,
displaying its determination to grow overseas to counter weak
prospects at home.

Dai-ichi Life, Japan’s second-largest private-sector life
insurer, said it will issue up to 250 billion yen ($2.4 billion)
in new shares to help finance the widely expected purchase of
Protective Life. The Japanese insurer will
retain existing management at the Birmingham, Alabama-based
target, which booked premiums and policy fees of $2.98 billion
and net income of $393 million in 2013.

Jun 4, 2014

Japan’s Dai-ichi Life agrees to buy Protective Life for $5.7 bln

TOKYO, June 4 (Reuters) – Japan’s Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co
has agreed to buy U.S. peer Protective Life for
$5.7 billion, the largest acquisition by a Japanese insurer,
displaying its determination to grow overseas to counter weak
prospects at home.

Dai-ichi Life, Japan’s second-largest private-sector life
insurer, said it will issue up to 250 billion yen ($2.4 billion)
in new shares to help finance the widely expected purchase of
Protective Life. The Japanese insurer will
retain existing management at the Birmingham, Alabama-based
target, which booked premiums and policy fees of $2.98 billion
and net income of $393 million in 2013.

Jun 2, 2014

Japan’s Dai-ichi Life in talks to buy U.S. insurer Protective Life: source

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese insurer Dai-ichi Life Co is in advanced talks to buy Protective Life Corp of the United States in a deal that could be worth over $5 billion, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

The deal would be the biggest so far in a string of overseas acquisitions by Japanese insurers, led by Dai-ichi Life, seeking out higher-growth markets to offset weak long-term prospects at home as the country’s population ages rapidly.

Jun 2, 2014

Dai-ichi Life in advanced talks to buy U.S. insurer Protective Life: source

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese insurer Dai-ichi Life Co is in advanced talks to buy Protective Life Corp of the United States, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said, in a deal likely to be worth over $5 billion, the biggest acquisition by a Japanese insurer.

Dai-ichi Life, Japan’s second-largest private-sector life insurer, plans to buy 100 percent of Birmingham, Alabama-based Protective Life, said the source, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. If completed, the deal would be the latest in a string of overseas acquisitions by Japanese insurers, seeking to offset weak future prospects at home amid a rapidly ageing population.

May 31, 2014

Online banking thefts hit Japan firms prompting compensation rethink

TOKYO, May 31 (Reuters) – Hackers stole nearly $2 million
from the online bank accounts of Japanese businesses in April, a
surge in theft that has prompted some banks to curtail online
services and rethink compensation policies, executives and
regulators say.

In April there were 50 cases of theft from online accounts
held by Japanese businesses with nearly 200 million yen stolen,
according to a person with knowledge of the industry-wide tally,
which has not been made public. That was more than the entire
previous year.

May 19, 2014

Consolidation necessary for Japan regional bank survival: ex-FSA Commissioner

TOKYO (Reuters) – The former head of Japan’s banking regulator said consolidation is necessary for regional banks to survive a climate of dwindling borrowers, as it will allow them to extend riskier and therefore more profitable forms of financing.

Regional lenders mainly extend low-risk loans to small and mid-sized businesses, but have long been suffering from falling demand as the population ages. To win borrowers, banks have lowered interest rates at the expense of profitability.