The final phase of government plans to privatize the nation's postal services got off to a good start Wednesday as shares in three newly private companies soared above their offering prices they went live.

In the first phase of a planned three-stage release of shares in Japan Post Holding Co. and its banking and insurance units, shares in the holding company fetched an initial quotation of ¥1,631, up a brisk 17 percent from the initial offering price of ¥1,400. Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan Post Insurance Co. shares were initially quoted at ¥1,680 and ¥2,929, respectively 16 percent and 33 percent higher than their sticker prices.

The initial quotations place the combined market capitalization of the three companies at over ¥16 trillion, making this the second-largest IPO of a former public corporation after Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., which reached ¥25 trillion at its February 1987 listing.