December 21, 2018 / 6:57 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Japanese asset manager Rheos Capital Works postpones $159 mln IPO

(Adds comment from Rheos’ IR officer in fourth paragraph)

TOKYO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Japanese asset management firm Rheos Capital Works said on Thursday that it had shelved plans for an 17.7 billion yen ($158.96 million) initial public offering (IPO) next week, saying it identified corporate governance matters that it needed to address.

The company, which manages the Hifumi Plus Fund , one of the best-selling equity investment trusts in Japan, had previously said it planned to list on Mothers, a junior board of the Tokyo Stock Exchange for start-up firms, on Dec. 25.

“There were cases that need further examinations in terms of our corporate governance and internal controls to protect investors. We judged we would need more time,” the company said in a statement on its website.

The issues relate to company procedures, not legal matters, Takayuki Nakagawa, an investor relations officer at the firm, told Reuters.

The Mothers exchange said it has revoked listing permission for Rheos, following requests by the company.

The decision comes days after SoftBank Corp, the mobile carrier arm of technology conglomerate SoftBank Group , made a poor debut in the stock market in Japan’s biggest ever IPO worth 2.65 trillion yen ($23.80 billion).

The telco unit’s shares sank 15 percent from the IPO price on the first trading day.

That worsened market sentiment, which was already weakened by worries about a global economic slowdown.

Tokyo’s Mothers market, on which Rheos was to be listed, has been hit particularly hard, with its index losing more than 15 percent so far this week, compared with 7 percent in the broader Topix index.

Rheos chief executive Hideto Fujino is a veteran fund manager and known among retail investors for the performance of his Hifumi Plus fund last year, which posted gains of about 45 percent.

However, the more recent global stock market downturn since October has raised concerns about Rheos’ profitability. ($1 = 111.3500 yen) (Reporting by Tokyo Markets Team; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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