(Adds details, changes attribution in first paragraph)
TOKYO Oct 17 Japan's top retailer Aeon Co
will raise up to 94.5 billion yen ($956 million) by
listing a real estate investment trust, capitalising on a
recovering property market to secure funds for expansion.
The initial public offering comes as the Japanese real
estate market recovers from a more than two-decade slump, with
land prices this year falling the least since 2008, a government
survey showed last month.
It also comes as Aeon looks to expand overseas amid sluggish
growth prospects in its saturated home market. Sources have
previously named Aeon as one of the suitors for Li Ka-shing's
ParkNShop supermarket business in Hong Kong.
The REIT, Aeon Reit Investment Corp, will sell as many as
945,000 shares to investors in Japan and overseas, according to
a company statement released on Thursday.
Aeon will sell assets such as shopping malls to Aeon Reit
and then lease them back, providing income for the REIT so that
it can pay dividends to investors. Aeon Reit said it would
invest in properties in Asia in the future.
Aeon Reit will start trading on Nov. 22 on the Tokyo Stock
Exchange, after setting the IPO price on Nov. 11.
($1 = 98.8650 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Junko Fujita and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Chris