News Archive : Japan Real Estate

Monday, November 14, 2005

Foreign Ownership Tops 30% At 103 TSE 1st Section Firms

Foreign Ownership Tops 30% At 103 TSE 1st Section Firms
2005/11/13, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, page 0, 417 words

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Over 100 firms listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section were owned more than 30% by foreign investors as of the end of September, up some 20% from March, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun has learned.
Besides international blue chips, such as Japan's leading technology firms, overseas investors have been investing in construction and real estate firms due to the improving prospects for the Japanese economy.
With a growing number of foreign investment funds snapping up Japanese shares, as is the case with hair growth product maker Aderans Co. (8170), whose main shareholder is U.S. fund Steel Partners, domestic companies now face increasingly vocal shareholders who insist on having their opinions reflected in the way they are managed.
According to the latest Nikkei survey, of domestic companies whose business years end on March 31 and are listed on the TSE first section, those owned more than 30% by foreign investors totaled 103, up from 85 at the end of March. Foreign ownership in Orix Corp. (8591) topped 60% for the first time, reaching 60.3%, while the ratio exceeded 50% at Fuji Photo Film Co. (4901) and Rohm Co. (6963).
The number of companies listed on the TSE first section in which foreign investors own combined interests of more than 50% comes to 11 when those that end their fiscal years in months other than March are included. These 11 firms, which include Canon Inc. (7751), are well known abroad. Orix and others have also held investor relations briefings outside Japan to promote themselves to investors there.
Companies that have been turning in strong earnings performances, such as Fanuc Ltd. (6954), Sumitomo Corp. (8053) and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (6752), have also seen their foreign share ownership levels reach all-time highs at the end of September. Investors seem to have purchased the shares partly in anticipation of the higher dividends likely to be paid out of the increased corporate profits.
Among real estate firms operating mainly in Japan, Mitsui Fudosan Co. (8801), whose profit is expected to hit a record high in fiscal 2005, saw its foreign ownership climb to 41% and the percentage also jumped to 40% for Haseko Corp. (1808), up from 16% at the end of March. Haseko's business has been recovering amid its ongoing corporate restructuring.
Major consumer credit firm Takefuji Corp. (8564) is also owned over 50% by overseas investors apparently because the unloading of company shares by its founding family has improved its managerial prospects.
(The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Sunday edition)