TOKYO May 21 The Children's Investment Fund
(TCI) has urged Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to fully and
swiftly privatise Japan Tobacco Inc by shedding the
government's one-third stake.
The British-based activist fund's renewed call for boosting
shareholder returns comes as Abe prepares to outline plans next
month to improve corporate governance, as part of an updated
economic strategy aimed at overturning Japan's reputation for
In a letter to Abe dated May 20, TCI noted that
privatisation would bring over 2 trillion yen ($19.7 billion) in
revenues for the government. Last year, Japan sold about a 17
percent stake, raising nearly 1 trillion yen to fund
reconstruction of areas devastated by the 2011 earthquake and
"We now strongly recommend that the government immediately
fully privatise JT, as it is not of strategic importance for the
country," it said.
TCI, which holds slightly more than 1 percent of JT,
according to Thomson Reuters data, also urged Abe to vote in
favour of its proposal for the company to buy back 10 percent of
its outstanding shares. JT will hold its annual shareholders
meeting next month.
Shares in Japan Tobacco were roughly flat on Wednesday
morning, mirroring the broader Tokyo market.
($1 = 101.3450 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates)