Seibu Railway Co. hopes to go public again as early as 2008, according a final report by the scandal-tainted group’s reform panel released Friday.
The Seibu group falsified its financial reports on share ownership and was delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
It will carry out a sweeping overhaul that is intended to reduce the influence of its founder and disgraced former chairman, Yoshiaki Tsutsumi.
According to the report, Seibu Railway will merge with parent Kokudo Corp.’s leisure business, which includes the Prince Hotel chain, by the end of next March. Kokudo will be split, with an asset management unit spun off.
“Core businesses of the group will be transferred to Seibu Railway, and the company will aim for relisting on the exchange,” Ken Moroi, panel chairman and an adviser to Taiheiyo Cement Corp., told a news conference Friday.
As part of the reorganization process, Seibu Railway will seek a 200 billion yen injection of fresh capital from creditor banks and other investors to boost its weak financial base and reduce interest-bearing debts to less than 1 trillion yen by March 2008 from 1.4 trillion yen at present.
The report says Seibu will sell 200 billion yen worth of assets as part of its restructuring measures.
The Seibu group has a number of loss-making resort facilities and hotels, many of which are expected to be sold off or closed down in line with the reorganization.
Moroi declined to name which candidates would be sold or shut down, saying only that the panel did not propose any specific facilities to the group. It is for management to decide, he said.
Regarding speculation over the sale of the Seibu Lions pro baseball team, Moroi again said it is for management to decide.
He said: “We thought something had to be done to a team that loses 2 billion yen a year. But that does not mean we are proposing the sale of the team.
“The group management wants to keep it.”
Moroi said Seibu group executives had denied that Goldman Sachs wants to buy the group for 900 billion yen, as reported in a newspaper.
The panel had been working on the reform plan since November.
Seibu Railway was delisted from the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December after Kokudo group firms admitted to owning more than 80 percent of the railway company, in breach of the TSE’s listing rules.
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