Struggling trading house Sojitz Holdings Corp. officially announced Wednesday it will get a 370 billion yen capital injection from financial institutions, including UFJ Holdings Inc. and UBS AG, to clean up its balance sheet.
Sojitz is one of the largest problem borrowers of UFJ, which is under pressure to slash bad loans to meet a target set by the nation’s banking regulator as well as to prepare itself for a merger with Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc.
The capital injection is part of a turnaround plan also unveiled Wednesday. It will be Sojitz’s second bailout by banks. The first was in May 2003, when the trading house raised capital of around 270 billion yen from its lenders.
“We aim to regain the confidence of the market,” Sojitz Holdings President Hidetoshi Nishimura said during a news conference.
He said he will take responsibility for seeking the financial assistance by resigning at the “proper” time, but he did not give a specific date. He said he first has to get the plan on track.
The capital injection will come through the issuance of preferred shares and other equity financing. The amount was around 100 yen billon more than had been forecast in July, when Sojitz said it would seek the capital injection to cover the expected losses from cleaning up its balance sheet.
The turnaround plan calls for the company to spend some 400 billion yen to withdraw from unprofitable businesses, including overseas investments, and dispose of real estate properties.
Sojitz said it will cut its net interest-bearing debts to 1.05 trillion yen in March 2007, from 1.56 trillion yen as of April.
The holding company was established in April as the parent of trading house Sojitz Corp. It was created via a merger between Nissho Iwai Corp. and Nichimen Corp.
For UFJ, Sojitz’s main lender, the revival plan means a problem borrower has started working toward rehabilitation while the bank itself struggles to survive through the merger with Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group.
But the bank’s headaches will continue, as supermarket chain Daiei Inc., fearing Draconian restructuring, is adamantly resisting its lenders’ calls to seek help from bailout agency Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan.
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