Nomura eyes Australia equity license

TOKYO Wed Jul 8, 2009 3:03pm EDT

Nomura Holdings Deputy President and COO Takumi Shibata attends the Reuters Japan Investment Summit in Tokyo July 8, 2009. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Nomura Holdings Deputy President and COO Takumi Shibata attends the Reuters Japan Investment Summit in Tokyo July 8, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Nomura Holdings Inc (8604.T) is applying for an equity license with the Australian Stock Exchange and is seeking a partner in China, a top executive said, as Japan's largest brokerage looks to expand its Asia-Pacific operations.

The moves come as Nomura, which bought Lehman Brothers' LEHMQ.PK Asian, European and Middle East operations in September shortly after the Wall Street bank failed, is accelerating efforts to seek growth outside its mature home market.

"We haven't received the (Australian) license yet, but we are hopeful," Nomura Chief Operating Officer Takumi Shibata said at the Reuters Japan Investment Summit on Wednesday.

He also said finding a partner in China would enable Nomura to handle equity offerings in the country, where foreign banks are required to form joint ventures with Chinese partners or invest in local brokerages.

"You need to find the right partner. We are always looking and I don't think we're going to be looking long."

Major banks including Goldman Sachs (GS.N), UBS AG UBSN.VX and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) have set up investment banking joint ventures in China in the past few years, and rivals like JPMorgan (JPM.N) and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch are looking for partners.

Nomura suffered losses as it shouldered the costs to integrate Lehman's operations. But Shibata said the acquisition was paying off as the firm has been winning investment banking deals in Asia and expanding market share in equity broking in London.

Recent investment banking deals at Nomura included a $333 million convertible bond sale by SK Telecom (017670.KS) in April and a $384 million rights issue by Swiss flavors and fragrances maker Givaudan (GIVN.VX) in June, which was co-managed by UBS.

Nomura has also been boosting its equity trading businesses in Japan and Europe, Shibata said. Its market share at the Tokyo Stock Exchange is growing, while its market share in London went from "nowhere" in December to No. 3 in June, he said.

"We are happy where we are. Market share will improve only in difficult times. It is our intention to improve our market share," he said.

He added that Nomura continues to expand its business in the United States and has hired about 150 people there since its purchase of Lehman's non-U.S. operations, Shibata said.

"A global house cannot exist without a presence in the U.S," he said.

Nomura in 2007 had said it would cut its U.S. workforce as it pulled out of the U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities business.

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