TOKYO Feb 9 Tokyo Electric Power Co
(Tepco) has hired six investment banks to sell bonds worth about
100 billion yen ($890 million) in its first debt offering since
the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, a person familiar with the
deal told Thomson Reuters DealWatch.
The banks - including SMBC Nikko, a unit of Sumitomo Mitsui
Financial Group, and Nomura Securities Co, a unit of
Nomura Holdings Inc - have been hired as book runners
for bonds to be issued by Tepco Power Grid Inc, a Tepco unit.
The utility, once Asia's largest, was essentially
nationalised after Fukushima. It currently faces billions of
dollars in costs to dismantle the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi
nuclear power plant, decontaminate the area and compensate
victims of the 2011 crisis, when three reactors melted down
after being hit by a tsunami.
Tepco is seeking to re-enter the bond market by the end of
this fiscal year in March, sources told Reuters and DealWatch
The company must submit a regulatory filing by the middle of
this month to complete the debt issue on schedule, said the
source, who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to
discuss the matter publicly.
The other book runners hired by Tepco are Mitsubishi UFJ
Morgan Stanley Securities Co., a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ
Financial Group Inc; Mizuho Securities Co, a unit of
Mizuho Financial Group Inc; Daiwa Securities Co, a unit
of Daiwa Securities Group Inc; and Shinkin Securities
Co, a unit of Shinkin Central Bank, the source said.
Tepco and the six banks declined to comment.
The sale, if successful, will mark the return of the company
to Japan's corporate bond market, which it dominated before the
2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered the world's worst nuclear
crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, bringing Tepco to its knees.
Tepco's plan to sell three-, five- or ten-year bonds
initially met with caution from the state-backed bailout body
that was created to help the utility pay for compensation for
the Fukushima disaster, the source said.
But previously sceptical investors seem to have now become
more comfortable with the utility's outlook after the government
provided more details on decommissioning and compensation costs.
The utility, which will see 650 billion yen worth of bonds
maturing in the year ending March 2018, wants to restart regular
bond issuance to ensure stable refinancing.
($1 = 112.3100 yen)
(Reporting by Issei Hazama, writing by Taiga Uranaka; Editing
by Himani Sarkar)