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In a move heralding a major shift in its corporate philosophy, Idemitsu Kosan Co., a major oil distributor, said Tuesday it will consider going public.

Speaking at a news conference, President Akira Idemitsu said the company is ready to drop the policy of shunning capital markets it has maintained since it was founded in 1911.

“We have been dependent on indirect financing,” the president said. “Due to the financial industry realignment and other changed conditions, however, the time has come for us to procure funds from the capital markets as well.”

The late Sazo Idemitsu, the company’s founder, believed listing was incompatible with his management philosophy that employees were the company’s capital and that businesses must be consumer-oriented.

Companies that list on capital markets are considered shareholder-focused.

After the founder died in the early 1980s, the company maintained his policy of shunning the capital markets. The firm also does not have a labor union or a set age for retirement — unlike most Japanese companies.

In fiscal 1999, the company expects to report 1.91 trillion yen in revenue, 13 billion yen in pretax profit and 1.5 billion yen in net profit.

The announced measures will help the company increase its capital and provide access to capital markets so as to enhance its stable management, the company said.

Apart from the announced plan, it has also asked Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and a couple of other financial institutions to increase their investment. Its capital size will thus eventually top 30 billion yen.