JERA new president says IPO is an option

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s JERA Co, a fuel buying joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, sees an initial public offering (IPO) as an option for the future as it aims to become an autonomous and global energy company, its new president said.

The logo of JERA Co., Inc., the world's biggest LNG buyer, is displayed at the company office in Tokyo, Japan July 14, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The two large Japanese utility parents of JERA are set to integrate their domestic thermal power generation businesses under JERA in April this year.

JERA said on Monday that Satoshi Onoda, executive vice president of Chubu Electric, will become its new president on April 1, replacing Yuji Kakimi.

Asked at a news conference whether JERA plans an IPO, Onoda said: “We would consider it as an option for the future as we aim to become an autonomous and global company.”

“With full energy value chain including fuel procurement, power generation and wholesales of electricity and gas, we want to become a global energy company which provides the most advanced technological solutions,” he said.

He ruled out the possibility of further integrations with other companies for the time being, but said it would be possible to form alliances for some operations.

As a result of the integration in April, JERA’s total asset value is expected to grow to 4 trillion yen ($36.4 billion) from 1.2 trillion yen as of end-December and the number of employees will jump to 4,500 from 800.

The company will own 26 thermal power stations with power generation capacity of 67 gigawatts, or about half of Japan’s total thermal power capacity.

JERA’s earlier target to boost its net profit to 200 billion yen in the year to March 2026, from 38.9 billion yen in the year to March 2018, remains largely unchanged, Onoda said, adding it plans to announce updated business goals before April 1.

JERA, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) buyer, will seek “good fuel procurement deals” from new LNG projects and existing projects not only from the viewpoint of financial terms but also the viewpoint of flexibility, Kakimi said.

($1 = 109.8600 yen)

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise