/

Tepco mulls first bond sale in over six years

JIJI

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. might issue its first corporate bonds in 6½ years this March, informed sources say.

The beleaguered utility hasn’t issued bonds since the March 2011 triple core meltdown at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Tepco would be expected to procure up to ¥100 billion in funds if the bonds sell well.

The bonds will be floated by Tepco Power Grid Inc., the electricity supply and distribution unit of the holding company, the sources said. The proceeds will be used to redeem existing bonds set to mature in fiscal 2017 and later, the sources said.

The Tepco group’s rehabilitation program, approved by the government in January 2014, includes a plan to return to the bond market within fiscal 2016, which ends in March this year.

There has been speculation the group may not be able to recover so early because estimated reactor decommissioning and other costs related to the nuclear disaster have doubled to ¥21.5 trillion.

But the group now believes investor concerns about its financial situation will ease markedly thanks to government support measures that decided on last month, the sources said.

At the end of March, Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. will consider whether to reduce its stake in Tepco Holdings. Currently, the government-backed corporation controls more than half of the voting rights in the holding company.