TOKYO, Sept 5 The number of candidates looking to underwrite Japan Post's initial public offering has been whittled down to 15 firms from an initial 21 that applied last week, the Ministry of Finance said on Friday.
The ministry will choose six domestic and four foreign brokerages as early as the month's end after taking into account their sales strategies and handling fees.
The brokerages are vying to underwrite the IPO scheduled for 2015, which market participants expect to raise almost $10 billion for the government.
The remaining domestic brokerages are Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley, Daiwa, Nomura, SMBC Nikko, Mizuho, Tokai Tokyo, Okasan, SBI and Ichiyoshi, the ministry announced on its homepage.
The remaining foreign brokerages are Barclays, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Global Markets Japan, UBS and Merrill Lynch Japan.
State-owned Japan Post provides post office, insurance and banking services and is the country's largest savings institution with around 176 trillion yen ($1.7 trillion) in customer saving deposits.
The IPO will be the first leg of the government's plan to sell up to two-thirds of Japan Post's shares. While bankers have said the government hopes to eventually raise between 2 trillion yen and 4 trillion yen ($19 billion to $38 billion), current expectations are for the IPO to raise about 1 trillion yen.
Part of the proceeds will fund reconstruction of areas devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. (1 US dollar = 105.32 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)