Kyushu, Chugoku Electric say they will cooperate with Japan probe

Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear power station is seen in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima prefecture, Japan, August 8, 2015. Picture taken August 8, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Japan's Fair Trade Commission has issued no notice of antitrust fines to Kyushu Electric Power Co (9508.T) and Chugoku Electric Power Co (9502.T), the two utilities said on Monday, following a report they were in trouble for anti-competitive behaviour.

In separate statements, each of the two companies also said it was under investigation, would cooperate with the commission and would announce further information swiftly if necessary.

The commission declined to comment on a Friday report in the Nikkei newspaper that it had decided to fine three major utility firms tens of billions of yen in total for breaching antitrust laws.

The regulator would penalise Kyushu Electric, Chugoku Electric and Chubu Electric Power Co (9504.T) for agreeing not to expand into each other's industrial power-supply markets, the Nikkei said.

A spokesperson for Chubu Electric said that company was aware of the report but declined to comment further.

Like other Japanese electricity generators, the three companies are already suffering from rising input costs amid high global energy prices exacerbated by weakness of the yen.

Nikkei said Kansai Electric Power Co (9503.T) had also been part of the scheme and, along with the three other firms, had been raided by the commission last year. Kansai Electric had probably avoided penalty by reporting the matter to the antitrust regulator and taking advantage of a leniency policy, the newspaper said.

A Kansai Electric spokesperson said on Monday the company was fully cooperating with the regulator, which so far had not called it to appear before an investigation hearing on the matter.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Miho Uranaka; Additional reporting by Yuka Obayashi and Kantaro Komiya; Editing by David Gregorio and Bradley Perrett

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