Gyukaku operator to buy controlling stake in am/pm

Restaurant-chain operator Reins International Inc. said Friday it will buy a controlling 62.6-percent stake in convenience-store operator am/pm Japan Co. through a third-party share allotment scheme.

Reins, which operates the Gyukaku Korean barbecue restaurant chain, is apparently trying to diversify its operations because its mainstay restaurant business has been struggling due to Japan’s import ban on U.S. beef, following the discovery of the first mad cow disease case in the United States in December.

Reins President Tomoyoshi Nishiyama said, “We will do our utmost to foster the convenience business into our firm’s core sector along with the food business.”

Tokyo-based am/pm Japan said it will raise 17.1 billion yen through new share issues to help bolster its earnings base and turn around its current state of negative net worth.

“We want to make a fresh start” through the tieup with Reins, am/pm Japan President Yukiatsu Akizawa said.

The share-allotment program will allow am/pm Japan to issue 570,000 common shares with an offer price of 30,000 yen per share. The payment date is set for around Aug. 10.