by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) March 11, 2013
Japan Tobacco (JT) said Monday that Tokyo's partial sale of its stake in the former monopoly would raise about $7.8 billion as the government looks to finance huge disaster reconstruction.
JT, one of the world's biggest tobacco firms whose international brands include Winston and Camel, said 253 million shares would be sold at 2,949 yen ($31) each. The offering was expected to raise about 747 billion yen, it said.
The move would bring Tokyo's stake down to about one-third of JT from 50 percent before the offering, which is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The planned sale is earmarked to help fund rebuilding after Japan's quake-tsunami disaster, which struck on March 11, 2011. The country held memorial services Monday for the second anniversary of the twin disasters, which sparked the nuclear crisis at Fukushima.
The sale price is at a discount to JT's closing of 3,010 yen per share, down 3.68 percent, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Monday.
JT, which controls about two-thirds of the Japanese tobacco market, previously said it would buy back up to 118 million shares from the market ahead of the planned sale.
The move was part of efforts to shield its other shareholders from the effects of a massive release of shares on to the market, the company said.
The quake-tsunami killed nearly 19,000 people and made hundreds of thousands of people homeless. It also sparked the worst nuclear disaster in a generation which experts say will take decades to clean up.
JT was privatised in the mid-80s and Tokyo has offered its shares several times since, among a string of other completed or planned privatisation efforts including that of Japan's rail and postal services.
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