* 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 (Reuters) - 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)