A new type of security Toyota Motor Corp. is selling is proving a hit with Japanese drawn to the combination of limited risk and fixed dividends that beat the near-zero interest being offered on bank deposits.
Nomura Holdings Inc., the sole underwriter on the ¥500 billion share sale, cut the maximum amount of stock a single investor can buy after a flood of pre-orders, said people with knowledge of the matter. Toyota will price the Model AA shares, named after its first car, as early as Thursday.
Investors will have to hold the shares for the first five years, picking up dividends along the way, before gaining the option to sell them back to Toyota for the purchase price if the value drops. That is attractive for aging Japanese who want limited risk and returns that outstrip those on the $7.2 trillion of cash and bank deposits they have piled up.
“Older folks and pensioners will prefer the Toyota shares,” said Tokio Goto, 78, a former company owner who is interested in buying the securities. “I’ve had my fingers burnt from investments in the past. People want to invest money in safer places because global markets are still volatile.”
There are drawbacks. The securities will be sold for at least a 26 percent premium over common equity, setting a high bar for investors to profit from increases in the stock price after five years. They would also miss any opportunity to realize gains if the price climbs during the period.
That has not dissuaded investors. Some of Nomura’s customers complained after being told they will be unable to buy the stock because pre-orders were three to five times greater than the 50 million shares being offered, the people said, asking not to be named because the process is confidential. That prompted the brokerage to lower the maximum purchase amount to ¥500 million per person, they said.
For Nomura, the sale is poised to be its biggest equity deal, eclipsing its role in an offering by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. in 2009, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Kenji Yamashita, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Nomura, declined to comment, as did Nicholas Maxfield, a Toyota spokesman.
Brokerages are benefiting as people gradually shift their cash hoards to investments amid a stock-market rally. The Nikkei 225 stock average touched the highest level since 1996 last month on optimism about the earnings outlook as the economy recovers.
Nomura will probably receive between 4 percent and 5 percent in underwriting fees, according to the people. That’s potentially higher than the 4 percent average for the 10 biggest public offerings in Japan in the five years to December 2014.
Higher fees are understandable because sales staff will have to spend time explaining the product’s risks, and the Tokyo-based firm will not get any commissions in the next five years because of the absence of any secondary trading, said Nobuyuki Fujimoto, a senior market analyst at SBI Securities Co.
If the Toyota deal is successful, other large companies such as Japan Tobacco Inc. could follow suit and make similar offerings, Fujimoto said. “Nomura may be able to get mandates from them,” he said.
Toyota will price the Model AA shares by Tuesday. It won approval to sell the new class of stock to long-term shareholders at its annual investor meeting on June 16, with about 75 percent voting in favor. At the same time, proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and investors including California State Teachers’ Retirement System criticized the offering for being restricted to Japan and lacking benefits for common stockholders.
“The Toyota deal will accelerate the trend of depositors transferring their money to securities investments,” said Goto, who owns 100 Japanese stocks including the carmaker and the underwriter. “This looks like a good present from Toyota to Nomura.”