Nikko Asset to put IPO plan on hold until 2013


Nikko Asset Management Co. may wait until next year before pursuing an initial public offering that it shelved in December, avoiding markets roiled by Europe’s debt crisis, two sources said.

Nikko Asset, a unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Holdings Inc., was looking to revive the IPO this year, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Nikko Asset spokeswoman Kyoko Wada declined comment.

The Nikkei 225 stock average has sunk 14 percent since April 1, weighed down by the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, where policymakers are struggling to contain financial turmoil. Global IPO announcements have dropped 25 percent this year from the same period in 2011 and more than 100 companies have withdrawn offers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Investors are dumping risky assets globally and they’re generally negative on share sales in the current environment,” said Mitsushige Akino, who oversees about $600 million at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. “They still welcome some good IPOs, but demand for asset management stocks is low because markets are volatile.”

Nikko Asset said in November its parent planned to sell 54.2 million shares of the company. It postponed the listing plan Dec. 2 because of “market volatility” and said “it will seek to resume its listing plans when market conditions are more stable.”

Nikko Asset hired SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Nomura Holdings Inc. and UBS AG as joint global coordinators to manage the offering.

This year, 873 firms have announced IPOs globally, compared with 1,165 a year earlier, according to Bloomberg data. First-time share sales have been withdrawn by 104 firms this year, the most since 2008.

Nikko Asset, which had ¥13 trillion in assets under management as of March 31, was planning to sell 19.9 million shares in Japan and 34.3 million shares in Europe and the U.S., the company said in November. The firm employs about 1,000 people, including 105 fund managers and 83 analysts, economists and strategists, its website said.

JT share sale pair picked

Daiwa Securities Group Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have been selected by the government to lead the global sale of shares it holds in Japan Tobacco Inc.

Mizuho Securities Co. will help manage the offering in Japan and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will assist with the sale abroad, the Finance Ministry said in a statement Monday.

The government, which owns more than 50 percent of Japan Tobacco — Asia’s largest cigarette maker — is selling shares to help fund reconstruction from the record March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s administration hasn’t decided how many shares it will sell in the company, which had a market value of ¥4.5 trillion Monday.

The companies were chosen from a shortlist of 10 firms, including Nomura Holdings Inc., SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit and UBS AG.

The Finance Ministry, which owns about 5 million shares in JT, can sell as many as 1.67 million shares, a ministry official said last month on condition of anonymity. JT has said it may buy back about ¥250 billion worth of the stock from the government.

Hall of fame insurer


Ikuo Uno, an adviser to Nippon Life Insurance Co., received the Insurance Hall of Fame award in an international ceremony Monday in honor of his contribution to the industry’s development.

The event was held at the International Insurance Society’s general assembly in Rio de Janeiro.

Uno is the 10th person from the Japanese insurance industry to receive the honor.