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Nomura Holdings Inc., Japan’s biggest securities firm, offered jobs to 40 students at triple the normal starting salary under a new plan to strengthen its international business, two sources said.

The college recruits, chosen from 650 candidates, will take up positions in investment banking, trading and other departments starting next April, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information isn’t public. They’ll be guaranteed a ¥6.5 million salary before bonuses, compared with ¥2.4 million for regular hires.

Nomura is bidding to prevent top students from choosing overseas firms such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that often offer higher salaries. Investment-banking candidates under the new program were required to score more than 860 on the Test of English for International Communication.

Keiko Sugai, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman for Nomura, declined comment.

The special pay packages match those offered by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to graduates in Japan before its September 2008 bankruptcy. Nomura acquired Lehman’s Japanese and European units later that year. At least 12 senior former Lehman managers quit after Nomura paid out guaranteed bonuses in March.

Nomura plans to hire an additional 560 college graduates for the next fiscal year under the traditional recruitment system, paying them a salary of ¥2.4 million plus benefits including overtime, the sources said. Employees who get the so-called global banker package won’t be compensated for working late hours, according to the firm’s recruitment ads.

Profit plunges 80%

Nomura Holdings Inc. said net income fell 80 percent for the first quarter on a slump in investment banking and trading businesses.

Net income fell to ¥2.3 billion for the three months that ended June 30, compared with a profit of ¥11.4 billion a year earlier, the Tokyo-based company said Friday.

Nomura’s result contrasts with a rebound in investment banking at UBS AG and a surge in trading income at Morgan Stanley. Chief Executive Officer Kenichi Watanabe is still struggling to boost profitability after acquiring Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s Asian and European operations in 2008.

“The results are unimpressive, with weaker investment banking revenue and lower trading gains,” said Jun Oishi, a Tokyo-based analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. “The near-term profit outlook remains uncertain; over the mid- to longer term, we’ll be looking for an expanded product line in Europe and Asia ex-Japan, and for its expansion efforts in the U.S. to translate into reasonable profit.”

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