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Nomura to begin Ashikaga exit with ¥21 billion sale

Bloomberg

Nomura Holdings Inc. will begin its exit from Ashikaga Holdings Co. by selling about ¥21 billion worth of preferred shares in the regional bank, according to two sources briefed on the matter.

Nomura Capital Investment Co. is poised to sell 8,000 preferred shares to closely held Ashikaga next week for ¥2.58 million apiece, the sources, who asked not to be named as the transaction is private, said.

The sale would further Nomura’s goal of exiting private equity investments as Chief Executive Officer Koji Nagai focuses on bolstering profit growth. It joins global firms including Bank of America Corp. in selling assets to raise cash and concentrate on their main businesses as regulators tighten capital and liquidity requirements.

Nomura, which first invested in Ashikaga, which is based in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, in 2008 when it bought shares held by the government, is preparing to sell a portion of the stake in an initial public offering or through mergers and acquisitions, the sources said.

Nomura bought 46 percent of common shares in Ashikaga from the government for about ¥61 billion in 2008, according to the regional bank’s regulatory filings. Nomura has also invested about ¥58 billion in preferred shares and debt. The government took over the failed bank in 2003 after bad loans mounted following the collapse of the asset bubble.

Ashikaga will seek to buy back as many as 10,000 preferred shares from investors and cancel them to reduce costs for dividend payments and increase cash reserves, the lender said.

Nomura almost halved its private equity-related investments to ¥107 billion as of June 30 from ¥206 billion a year earlier, according to an earnings presentation released in July.

It sold a stake in Annington Homes Ltd., a U.K. housing estate company, for £914 million ($1.4 billion) in December. In 2011, the bank sold family restaurant chain Skylark Co. to Bain Capital LLC and Tsubaki Nakashima Co., a bearing and machine-tool maker, to Carlyle Group LP.