/

Orix foresees spending $1.5 billion on takeovers over next 12 months

Bloomberg

Orix Corp., Japan’s most acquisitive financial firm, plans to spend ¥150 billion on takeovers around the world in the next 12 months, President Makoto Inoue said.

In the U.S., Orix is interested in buying nonfinancial companies such as solar power plants and wind farm operators, Inoue said in a recent interview in Tokyo. The company is also looking to acquire peripheral assets from European banks, while in Asia it’s waiting for prices of potential targets to drop further, he said.

“We’re in no rush to invest,” said Inoue, 61. “So we’ll only buy something exciting and reasonable pricewise,” he said, without giving specific targets.

Orix, whose operations include leasing, lending and real estate, has been expanding abroad as a shrinking population limits the domestic growth potential of Japanese businesses. The Tokyo-based firm announced more than 20 investments in companies over the past two years, the most of any Japanese financial institution, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It’s considering bidding for Standard Chartered PLC’s PrimeCredit Ltd. consumer finance unit in Hong Kong, two souorces said this month. London-based Standard Chartered wants to sell the firm for about $700 million, one of the sources said.

Orix said last month that it’s in talks to buy Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.’s Japan operations. The Connecticut-based insurer and Orix are close to a deal, two people with knowledge of the discussions said in March.

The Japanese company completed its largest takeover last year, when it bought Rabobank Groep’s Robeco Groep NV asset-management unit for €1.9 billion ($2.6 billion).

“If there is any good deal, we would be willing to spend as much as we did to buy Robeco,” said Inoue, who has been president since 2011 and became co-chief executive officer with incumbent Yoshihiko Miyauchi, 78, on Jan. 1. “Effective use of funds is becoming more important.”