• Kyodo News


Major beverage producer Pokka Corp. plans to relist its stock on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, possibly this spring, to expedite fundraising and push further into overseas markets, company sources said Friday.

The Nagoya-based company believes the time is ripe to become a publicly traded company again now that it has strengthened its earnings power through its tieups since 2008 with confectionary maker Meiji Seika Kaisha Ltd. and brewer Sapporo Holdings Ltd.

The decision is in line with the trend among major food producers to go on the market to raise funds for expanding abroad as the domestic market is shrinking due to the decline in the population. Drug and food maker Otsuka Holdings Co. went public last year and snack maker Calbee Inc. is considering following suit.

Pokka plans to call a special shareholders’ meeting soon to get its plan approved, after which the TSE will screen its application for an initial public share offering. Daiwa Securities Capital Markets Co. will be the lead manager.

The IPO could be delayed until summer depending on the condition of the stock market, the sources said.

In 2005, Pokka’s management team and the investment fund Advantage Partners took the firm private through a management buyout because the company’s low stock price raised fears it could become a target for a hostile takeover. The managers also deemed it necessary to dilute the influence of the founding family and vendors, which were key shareholders.

After pulling out from the bourse, Pokka forged business and capital tieups with Meiji Seika, a unit of Meiji Holdings Co., in 2008 and Sapporo Holdings the following year. The two partners each have an equity stake of about 20 percent in the company.

Pokka has since developed new products with Meiji and collaborated in logistics with Sapporo, which helped bolster its earnings.

The company is expected to maintain a partnership with both firms after going public, the sources said.

Pokka started out as beverage producer Nikka Lemon Co. in 1957.

It later began selling other products, including canned coffee, and renamed itself Pokka Corp. in 1982.

Its stock was listed on the TSE’s first section in 1988. It now runs the Cafe de Crie coffee shop chain.

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