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Jul 31, 2013

MUFG, Mizuho Q1 profits buoyed by Abenomics-led stock rally

TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Inc, Japan’s top lender by assets, and No. 2 Mizuho
Financial Group Inc said their quarterly net profits
had risen by more than a third, driven by a rally in Japanese
stocks that pushed up the value of their equity portfolios.

MUFG and Mizuho join third-ranked Sumitomo Mitsui Financial
Group Inc in reporting higher profits for April-June,
after expectations for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic
policies propelled Tokyo stocks to an over five-year high in
May.

Jul 28, 2013

Japan insurer Tokio Marine eyes more acquisitions in U.S., Mexico

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokio Marine Holdings Inc (8766.T: Quote, Profile, Research) is seeking acquisitions in the United States and Mexico to spread out its risk, the CEO of Japan’s largest property-casualty insurer by market value said, as rivals go after growth closer to home in Southeast Asia.

With sizable business in Britain and North America, Tokio Marine is currently the most geographically diverse Japanese insurer. CEO and President Tsuyoshi Nagano told Reuters Tokio Marine was keen to further expand abroad to diversify its risk, rather than to offset weak growth prospects at home.

Jul 26, 2013

Japan steps up SE Asia M&A as Meiji inks $700 mln Thai Life deal

TOKYO/HONG KONG, July 26 (Reuters) – Meiji Yasuda Life
Insurance Co has agreed to pay about $700 million to buy a 15
percent stake Thai Life Insurance Co, underscoring the rising
appetite of Japanese companies for deals in the rapidly
expanding economies of Southeast.

Meiji Yasuda’s purchase will make it the fourth financial
services acquisition by a Japanese firm in Southeast Asia this
year, bringing the year-to-date total value of Japanese M&A
deals in the region to about $6.6 billion.

Jul 18, 2013

Rush to beat tax means Japan home-buying boom may be temporary

TOKYO (Reuters) – “Abenomics” has convinced Ayako Onishi and her husband that now is the time to buy their first home.

The couple, who had their first child last year and are looking to move into Tokyo from the suburbs, are part of a rapidly growing number of people looking to buy houses and apartments in the wake of aggressive economic policies pushed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is set to cement his hold on power with a big upper house election victory this weekend.

Jul 4, 2013

Japan’s Shinsei Bank plans to list healthcare REIT next year

TOKYO, July 5 (Reuters) – Shinsei Bank Ltd plans to
debut Japan’s first real estate investment trust (REIT)
dedicated to building healthcare and housing facilities for the
elderly next year to meet growing demand from the world’s
fastest ageing population.

The REIT would initially purchase assets worth 100 billion
yen ($1 billion), Shinsei Bank President Shigeki Toma told
Reuters, adding that the amount could double or triple within a
few years.

Jul 2, 2013

Japan’s MUFG agrees to buy $5.61 billion stake in Thai lender

TOKYO/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) (8306.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has agreed to buy a controlling stake in Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya Pcl BAY.BK for up to 560 billion yen ($5.61 billion) as Japanese lenders expand into fast-growing Southeast Asian economies to beat slower growth at home.

MUFG’s purchase of up to 75 percent of Thailand’s fifth largest lender would be the biggest acquisition by a Japanese bank in Southeast Asia. It also ends General Electric Co’s (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) six-year-old investment in Ayudhya, with GE raising $2.41 billion by selling its stake in the Thai bank in two tranches.

Jun 25, 2013

Exclusive: Japan’s Meiji Yasuda nears deal for Thai Life stake – sources

TOKYO/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co has entered into exclusive talks to buy a 15 percent stake in Thai Life Insurance Co for around $700 million, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, as Japanese insurers step up their presence in Southeast Asia.

Meiji Yasuda, Japan’s second-largest life insurer by premium income after Nippon Life Insurance Co, beat Sumitomo Life Insurance Co to enter final negotiations, in an auction that had attracted private equity firms Carlyle Group (CG.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), KKR & Co (KKR.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and CVC Capital Partners, the people said.

Jun 24, 2013

Suntory Beverage prices $4 bln IPO near bottom of range

TOKYO, June 24 (Reuters) – Japan’s Suntory Beverage and Food
Ltd will raise 388 billion yen ($4 billion) after it set its IPO
price near the bottom of its marketing range, hurt by concerns
about its valuation and weak appetite amid market volatility.

The food and soft drinks unit of Suntory Holdings Ltd set
the price of its initial public offering at 3,100 yen per share,
compared with its 3,000-3,800 yen indicative range, it said in a
regulatory filing on Monday.

Jun 24, 2013

Suntory set to price up to $4.8 billion IPO, bolstering M&A warchest

TOKYO (Reuters) – Suntory Holdings Ltd’s food and soft drinks unit is set to price on Monday an initial public offering that could raise as much as $4.8 billion, making it Asia’s biggest IPO this year and bolstering the company’s warchest for overseas acquisitions.

The IPO of the unit, Suntory Beverage and Food Ltd (2587.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), is a test of investor appetite for new listings at a time of high volatility in Japanese stock markets. The benchmark Nikkei .N225 has lost about 17 percent since hitting a 5-1/2 year high in late May.

Jun 13, 2013

Takeda CEO backs Abe’s growth plans, seeks more globalised Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) – Top Japanese businessman Yasuchika Hasegawa backs Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to revitalize the stagnant economy in the face of criticism that the government is sidestepping politically thorny reforms ahead of an upper house election.

The member of Abe’s panel of industrial competitiveness told Reuters in an interview that he was confident the government eventually would take up issues like corporate tax and labor regulation, which critics complain have been left out of Abe’s marquee policy agenda.