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TOKYO, Oct 17 (Reuters) - 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 Gallagher