TOKYO, July 15 (Reuters) - Japan’s state-backed Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp said on Friday it has picked Nomura Holdings , Daiwa Securities , Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley, Mizuho Securities and SMBC Nikko Securities as domestic underwriters to sell its $4.4 billion stake in Japan Airlines .
The turnaround body has yet to name which of the four will be the primary underwriters but the decision marks the first step in a process that may see the defunct flag carrier return as a publicly traded company next year.
The bailout body, which pledged in 2009 to sell the shares after three years, has yet to say when and how much of the stake it will sell.
Japan airlines emerged from court administered bankruptcy in March after slashing 16,000 workers, cutting pension benefits and closing parts of its international and domestic networks. The airline collapsed under the strain of repeated losses and mounting debt.
Able to tap up to 3 trillion yen ($38 billion) a year in state-guaranteed funding to invest in and buy the debt of struggling but viable companies, the ETIC was set up in late 2009 with the aim of mainly reviving small and mid-sized firms.
$1 = 79.205 Japanese Yen Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Joseph Radford