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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.

May 14, 2014

Japan’s megabanks see profit drop after record year of “Abenomics”

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s three biggest banks beat
market forecasts with record annual profits, fuelled by a stock
market boom, but said earnings will fall this business year as
the glow of “Abenomics” fades and lending gains remain
restrained.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) on
Wednesday forecast only a modest pullback in profit for the
business year that began in April, while the other two
“megabanks” expect double-digit declines.

May 14, 2014

Japan megabanks see profit drop after Abenomics record year

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s three biggest banks beat
market forecasts with record annual profits, fuelled by a stock
market boom, but said earnings will fall this business year as
the glow of “Abenomics” fades and lending gains remain
restrained.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) on
Wednesday forecast a modest pullback in profit for the business
year that began in April.

May 14, 2014

Japan bank profits set to fall but overseas ops to buoy MUFG

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) – Japanese banks’ profits are likely
to fall this business year from last when stock-related gains
sent earnings soaring, but the overseas reach of Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group Inc (MUFG) will ensure the biggest
lender by assets loses out the least.

MUFG will boost profit with its 20 percent stake in U.S.
bank Morgan Stanley and near three-quarter ownership of
Thailand’s fifth-largest lender, while Mizuho Financial Group
Inc and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (SMFG)
contend primarily with a dim outlook for local lending.

May 8, 2014

Japan’s Suntory to sell $8 bln in debt to fund Beam buy -sources

TOKYO, May 8 (Reuters) – Suntory Holdings Ltd
aims to raise more than 800 billion yen ($8 billion) in debt to
finance its purchase of U.S. spirits company Beam Inc, Japan’s
third-biggest outbound deal ever, people with knowledge of the
deal said on Thursday.

The privately held beverage company is tapping a range of
lenders to buy senior and subordinated loans in yen and dollars,
as well as dollar bonds, to ensure longer-term funding of its
recently completed $13.6 billion purchase of the maker of Jim
Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbons, the people said.

Apr 28, 2014

Japan’s Orix agrees to buy Hartford Japan unit for $895M

TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) – Japan’s Orix Corp has
agreed to buy Hartford Financial Services Group’s
Japanese unit for $895 million as part of efforts to expand its
life insurance business in the world’s third-largest economy.

Orix is one of the most acquisitive Japanese financial
companies, saying last week it would buy a precious metal and
jewellery recycler from Baring Private Equity Asia in a deal
sources priced at around 21 billion yen ($204.7 million). Last
year, it spent about $2.6 billion on Dutch asset manager Robeco.

Apr 22, 2014

Japan’s Mizuho names ex-minister as chairwoman in management revamp

TOKYO (Reuters) – Scandal-hit Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has nominated former economy minister Hiroko Ota as chairwoman, as Japan’s second-largest bank strives to improve corporate governance by bringing in more outsiders.

Mizuho shareholders will vote on the nomination in June after which Ota, 60, could become one of the highest-ranking women in an industry which only recently started to appoint female executive officers.

Apr 2, 2014

Another Japan nuclear operator turns to government for aid

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co has become the second nuclear generator to seek state support this week as reactors across the country remain idled and industry losses mount three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Kyushu Electric, a regional monopoly that supplies power in southern Japan, said on Wednesday it was in talks with state-owned Development Bank of Japan for financial backing. On Tuesday, a source said Hokkaido Electric Power Co, which supplies Japan’s northernmost island, had asked the same bank for financial assistance.

Apr 1, 2014

Second Japan nuclear operator seeks government bailout

TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) – Japan’s Hokkaido Electric Power
Co, facing a third year of financial losses, is seeking
a capital infusion from a state-owned lender, a source with
knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

If successful, Hokkaido Electric would be the second nuclear
operator to receive a government bailout since the Fukushima
crisis in 2011. Japanese media earlier reported that the utility
will get the bailout.

Mar 31, 2014

Japan mega banks must help regional peers lend abroad -new banking head

TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) – Japan’s biggest banks must do
more to involve smaller peers when seeking partners to finance
overseas projects, to support a regional banking sector facing
an uncertain future without a wider pool of borrowers, Japan’s
new banking head said.

Many of Japan’s more than 100 local banks have long been
stuffed with deposits but starved of loan customers caused by
two decades of economic stagnation – a state the government, in
office since December 2012, has promised to end.