Mitsui & Co. Drops in Tokyo on Potential Fallout From BP's Gulf Oil Spill

Mitsui & Co., which holds a stake in the BP Plc-operated field where the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is unfolding, fell the most in 17 months in Tokyo trading on concerns the worst spill in U.S. history will cut earnings.

The shares sank as much as 8.3 percent, headed for the biggest decline since Jan. 13, 2009. The stock slid 7.3 percent to 1,081 yen at the morning break, while the benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.3 percent. The trading house was the worst performer on the index and Japan’s most actively traded stock by volume.

BP slumped to a 20-month low in London yesterday as U.S. President Barack Obama and Congress stepped up pressure on Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward to stop the leak. BP said June 7 it has spent $1.25 billion so far, or about $27 million a day, related to the accident. Credit Suisse Group AG estimated the total cost may reach $37 billion.

“It’s hard to estimate how much damage there’ll be to the environment and the total costs, such as compensation to fishermen,” Masayuki Nagano, an analyst at Deutsche Securities Inc. in Tokyo, said by phone. “Therefore it’s unclear how much stakeholders like Mitsui will have to bear.”

Mitsui’s unit Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. holds a 10 percent stake in the Mississippi Canyon 252 block where BP’s leaking Macondo well is located.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at tinajima@bloomberg.net

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