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Feb 4, 2015

Japan Tobacco says to end beverage business due to lack of scale

TOKYO, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Japan Tobacco Inc (JT) is
pulling out of the beverage business after failing to gain scale
in a mature domestic soft drinks market, and as the former state
monopoly focuses on its overseas tobacco operations.

JT, known for its “Roots” canned coffee and “Momono
Tennen-sui” flavoured bottled water in Japan, said on Wednesday
it will terminate production and sales of beverages by the end
of September.

Feb 3, 2015

As MUFG posts strong Q3, prospects grow for buybacks by Japan banks

TOKYO, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
(MUFG), Japan’s biggest bank by assets, posted a better
than expected 36 percent rise in quarterly net profit on strong
overseas growth and higher securities values from the Bank of
Japan’s asset-purchase policy.

MUFG’s results on Tuesday come after upbeat numbers last
week from two of its closest rivals – No. 2 lender Mizuho
Financial Group Inc and No. 3 Sumitomo Mitsui Financial
Group Inc (SMFG) – and raise the prospects of Japanese
lenders boosting shareholder returns through stock buybacks or
dividend hikes.

Feb 3, 2015

Japan’s Skymark Airlines seeks ‘business sponsor’ in bankruptcy

TOKYO, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Japan’s Skymark Airlines Inc
is looking for a “business sponsor” to help it emerge
from bankruptcy, a move that could eventually give control of
the fiercely independent budget carrier to its rivals.

Japan’s biggest budget airline, which sought protection from
creditors last week, said a sponsor could help it cut costs and
increase revenue, according to a Jan. 28 court filing seen by
Reuters on Tuesday.

Jan 30, 2015

Japan’s Meiji Yasuda to triple to $3 bln investment in new areas

TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co
plans to more than triple its investment in new areas
like overseas infrastructure to some $3 billion, company
officials said, as big Japanese institutions seek higher returns
amid tumbling global yields.

Japan’s third-biggest life insurer by premium revenue now
plans to put 350 billion yen ($2.97 billion) into new areas in a
three-and-a-half-year investment plan through March 2017, the
officials told Reuters.

Jan 30, 2015

Japan bank Mizuho’s Q3 profit up 26 pct as BOJ move boosts markets

TOKYO, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Mizuho Financial Group Inc
, Japan’s second-largest lender by assets, reported a
surprise 26 percent rise in profits for the quarter ended in
December as the Bank of Japan’s additional stimulus measures
boosted markets.

The latest quarter’s results were a sharp reversal from the
preceding six months, when Mizuho posted a 17 percent profit
fall, making it now likely the bank will avoid the big annual
profit fall it has forecast.

Jan 27, 2015

Japan Sumitomo Mitsui’s Q3 net up on QE boost to brokerage business

TOKYO, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Japanese lender Sumitomo Mitsui
Financial Group Inc (SMFG) posted a 1.8 percent rise in
quarterly profit due to gains in its brokerage business, setting
it on track to better its own forecast of a double-digit drop in
full-year profit.

The country’s third-largest lender by assets was able to eke
out a profit rise in its financial third quarter ended in
December, helped by a rally in the Japanese stock market after
the central bank’s surprise additional monetary stimulus
measures announced in October.

Dec 26, 2014

Japan Post: IPO to include separate listings of bank, insurance units

TOKYO (Reuters) – Government-owned Japan Post Holdings Co Ltd [IPO-JAPP.T] said it plans to list in the second half of the next business year and its bank and insurance units will go public at the same time, in what could be the biggest IPO of Japanese state enterprises in two decades.

The Japan Post group, one of the world’s biggest financial institutions with net assets of some 13.8 trillion yen ($115 billion), also said it plans to eventually cut its stakes in the two units to around 50 percent. Japan Post Bank Co Ltd is the nation’s biggest bank and Japan Post Insurance Co is its biggest insurance company.

Dec 24, 2014

SMFG chief – BOJ stimulus prompts shift to stocks, won’t buy more JGBs

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (SMFG) (8316.T: Quote, Profile, Research) has no plans to raise its holdings in Japanese government bonds (JGBs), its president said, as yields on sovereign debt have slumped to record lows after two rounds of massive monetary easing.

Instead, SMFG is primarily channelling its funds to Japanese and U.S. stocks, President Koichi Miyata said.

Dec 8, 2014

Mizuho’s talks on stake buy in Indonesian lender Panin stall

TOKYO (Reuters) – Mizuho Financial Group Inc said talks to buy Australia & New Zealand Banking Group’s (ANZ) stake in Indonesian lender Panin have stalled, adding the Japanese bank is considering other opportunities in the Southeast Asian nation.

“(The talks) have taken a slightly backward step,” Mizuho President Yasuhiro Sato said in an interview with Reuters. He did not elaborate on the reasons for the protracted negotiations.

Nov 14, 2014

Japan banks say lower credit costs help H1 profits exceed forecasts

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s top three banks reported profits for the first half of the year far beyond their initial estimates, as reduced credit costs made up for more muted stock gains during a period of cooling enthusiasm over “Abenomics”.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) (8306.T: Quote, Profile, Research), Mizuho Financial Group Inc (8411.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (SMFG) (8316.T: Quote, Profile, Research), however, continued to see paltry lending growth, highlighting the challenge faced by Japan’s central bank in encouraging borrowing and spending to stimulate the economy.