* Aiming to sell about 100 billion yen of bonds in offering
* Tepco's first such sale since the 2011 Fukushima disaster
* Likely to be considered benchmark offer
(Adds details, context)
By Kentaro Hamada and Issei Hazama
TOKYO, Jan 18 Tokyo Electric Power Co
(Tepco) plans to complete a sale of bonds by the end of March in
its first debt offering since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear
disaster, three sources close to the matter told Reuters and
DealWatch on Wednesday.
Tepco is aiming to sell about 100 billion yen ($880 million)
of bonds in the offering, two of the sources said. A bond of
that size is typically considered to be a benchmark.
The sale, if successful, will mark the return of the company
to Japan's corporate bond market, which it dominated before the
2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered the world's worst nuclear
crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, bringing Tepco to its knees.
A Tepco spokesman declined to comment.
The utility, once Asia's largest, was essentially
nationalised after Fukushima. It has struggled to contain
radiation at the site and compensate victims of the disaster
while preparing to decommission the crippled power station.
But previously sceptical investors seem to have now become
more comfortable with the utility's outlook after the government
provided more details on decommissioning and compensation costs.
Sources have said Tepco, in its bond sale, will likely need
to pay investors about 1 percentage point more than the
corresponding Japanese government bonds yields. This would be a
rich premium considering other electric utilities give about a
third of that spread for their debt funding.
The government owns 50.1 percent of Tepco following its
bailout, seen by some investors as an implicit state guarantee
for the company.
($1 = 113.3100 yen)
(Reporting by Kentaro Hamada and Issei Hazama, additional
reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick;
Editing by Chris Gallagher and Himani Sarkar)