TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan Post Holdings Co IPO-JAPP.T is expected to list shares in its holding company and bank and insurance units on Nov. 4, several people close to the deal said on Friday, in Japan’s biggest sale of state-owned enterprises in nearly three decades.
The government aims to sell at least 1.3 trillion yen ($11 billion) worth of shares, the sources said, in the first tranche of a three-part sale aiming to raise around 4 trillion yen over the coming four to six years to fund reconstruction from Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
The mammoth IPO, a decade in the making, reflects Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to invigorate the nation’s big public financial institutions and help lift the world’s third-biggest economy out of two decades of deflation and tepid growth.
The sale also helps the government exploit a doubling in Tokyo stock prices since Abe took office in December 2012 as it seeks revenue and struggles with the industrialized world’s biggest public debt burden.
Spokesmen for Japan Post and the Tokyo Stock Exchange declined to comment. Officials at the Finance Ministry in charge of the sale could not be reached.
The giant firm, which runs the nation’s mail-delivery service, applied to the Tokyo Stock Exchange in June to list the parent as well as Japan Post Bank Co and Japan Post Insurance Co. Approval from the bourse is expected on Sept. 10, said the sources, who asked not to be named as the information is not public.
The first round of share sales would be Japan’s biggest privatization since the 2.4 trillion yen listing of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (9432.T) in 1987.
The Finance Ministry, which owns Japan Post, reckons the company’s market value at 7 trillion to 8 trillion yen. The group’s consolidated net asset value was 15.3 trillion yen at the end of March.
The privatization of Japan Post was first made into law in 2005 under then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi but it was a highly divisive issue as postmasters at the nation’s more than 20,000 post offices hold considerable political clout with the ruling party.
“We’ve been waiting for the prospectus in the mail since Koizumi was in office, so for Abe to pull it off is a bit of a coup,” said Gavin Parry, managing director of brokerage Parry International Trading in Hong Kong.
“It’s a positive, just from a reform point, because it allows Abe to put some runs on the board, which will be good for sentiment,” Parry said. “There should be a great demand for this since it’s been so long in coming and there is plenty of liquidity in the market for this. Yes, it is going to lock up a bunch of liquidity, but once it comes to market that should help boost liquidity again.”
Additional reporting by Joshua Hunt, Taiga Uranaka, Thomas Wilson and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Writing by William Mallard; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Edmund Klamann