Daiei Inc. is considering selling its shares in subsidiary department store Printemps Ginza S.A. to reduce its debt, Daiei sources said Monday.

The shares will probably be sold to domestic and foreign institutional investors through the Mizuho Financial Group, they said.

Daiei established Printemps Ginza in 1983 in a tieup with the famed French department store Printemps in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district. Daiei holds about 99 percent of Printemps Ginza’s outstanding shares. The rest are owned by store directors and an employee group.

The store has been doing well and plans to become a publicly traded company in its 2004 business year.

As part of preparations for the listing, Printemps Ginza last month sold some 12.07 million shares it owned in Takashimaya Co., another major department store chain, to a domestic securities company for about 10.8 billion yen.

Initially, Daiei was considering selling the Printemps Ginza shares after it went public.

But with Printemps Ginza consolidating its management and with its own pressing need to reduce interest-bearing debts of about 2.56 trillion yen, Daiei now wants to sell before the listing, the sources said.

Daiei is expected to ask the Mizuho Financial Group to take care of the sale as Fuji Bank is one of Daiei’s major banks, they added. The group consists of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Fuji Bank and Industrial Bank of Japan.

Lawson buybackJiji Press Major convenience store operator Lawson Inc. said Monday it will purchase a maximum of 7.3 million of its own shares from the market this morning for cancellation.

The purchase, worth up to 34.675 billion yen, is to take place on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s ToSTNet-2 off-hours trading system at 8:45 a.m. today.

The shares will be purchased at 4,750 yen apiece, the closing price for Monday.

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