Ministry to sell chunk of JT shares

Kyodo

The Finance Ministry will sell part of the government’s stake in Japan Tobacco Inc. this year to raise more than ¥500 billion to finance reconstruction from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The ministry said Friday it expects to sell one-sixth of the tobacco company’s outstanding shares in fiscal 2012 ending next March. The government, which now holds half of JT’s outstanding shares, has decided to reduce the amount to a little more than one-third.

The government will first offer to sell the stock back to JT, which has expressed its intention to purchase at least around ¥200 billion worth, while the remainder will be sold on the market. The sale is expected to begin as early as the fall but could be delayed until fiscal 2013 depending on market conditions, officials said.