Hokuetsu Paper Mills Ltd., the target of a hostile takeover bid by industry leader Oji Paper Co., said Monday it has completed its planned new share issuance worth about 30 billion yen to major trading house Mitsubishi Corp.

This made Mitsubishi the largest shareholder of Hokuetsu, Japan’s sixth-largest papermaker, with a stake of about 24 percent. The move made it uncertain whether Oji will succeed in its bid to obtain a controlling stake of more than 50 percent in Hokuetsu.

Hokuetsu said it issued 50 million common shares to Mitsubishi for 30.35 billion yen, or 607 yen per share.

The Hokuetsu-Mitsubishi capital tieup, announced July 21, is aimed to partially finance Hokuetsu’s project to build a new production facility for high-quality printing paper at its plant in Niigata at a cost of 55 billion yen.

Mitsubishi is also intending to reinforce its business through the relationship with Hokuetsu in such areas as material procurement and trading of paper-pulp products.

Mitsubishi Paper Mills Ltd., a member of the Mitsubishi group, may also seek to join hands with Hokuetsu.

Oji launched the hostile takeover bid, the first of its kind in Japan, last Wednesday as part of efforts to deal better with intensifying international competition.

The next day, Nippon Paper Group Inc., the holding firm of Japan’s second-largest papermaker, Nippon Paper Industries Co., said it had acquired an 8.40 percent stake in Hokuetsu and would buy additional shares to increase its stake to as much as 10 percent, further clouding the prospects for Oji’s bid.

In an another effort to fend off Oji’s bid, Hokuetsu last week requested a panel of outside experts to examine the appropriateness of whether it can issue equity warrants to all existing shareholders to dilute Oji’s voting rights.

Oji seeks to see list

Oji Paper Co. is considering asking the Tokyo District Court to allow it to examine the list of shareholders in Hokuetsu Paper Mills Ltd., for which Oji has launched a takeover bid, sources said Monday.

Oji, which launched its hostile takeover attempt last Wednesday, hopes to identify the Hokuetsu shareholders and buy Hokuetsu shares from them, the sources said.

The nation’s No. 1 paper producer, Oji is weighing the legal option as Hokuetsu has turned down its request to look at its shareholders list, according to the sources.

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