Nichiboshin seeks court-led rehabilitation under new law

Nichiboshin Ltd., a financially troubled nonbank financial institution, filed Tuesday for a court-mandated bailout under new legislation aimed at speeding up corporate rehabilitation, a private credit research agency said.

Saddled with debts of some 300 billion yen, Nichiboshin is the most heavily indebted company to seek rehabilitation under the new law, which took effect April 1, Teikoku Databank said.

Nichiboshin initiated legal proceedings following its failure to obtain creditor banks’ approval for a restructuring plan calling for claims on some 240 billion yen to be waived.

Those banks had already forgiven some 400 billion yen in claims.

Without the additional support of the banks, Nichiboshin remained in capital deficit in fiscal 1999, which ended March 31, for the third consecutive year.

A capital deficit occurs when a company’s prospective losses eclipse the combined amount of its shareholders’ equity and other capital items.

In a related move, the Tokyo Stock Exchange announced Tuesday that it will delist Nichiboshin stock on July 26 after placing the issue on its liquidation post from Wednesday to July 25.

Nichiboshin’s financial troubles date back to the late 1980s, when it invested aggressively in real estate during the asset-inflated bubble economy.

But the burst of the bubble economy left the company with mountains of nonperforming assets. Nichiboshin has since been undergoing restructuring.

Nichiboshin is the second listed company to file for rehabilitation under the new law after Toyo Steel Corp. did so April 14.