Goldman Revamps Japan Investment Bank in Post-Quake Push

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) appointed two senior bankers to run Japanese equity and bond underwriting and set up a public-sector group to boost its investment banking business following the country’s record earthquake.

Yasuro Koizumi and Makoto Ito will be co-heads of the financing group in Japan, succeeding Jasper Tans, who will return to London, according to a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Mitsunari Okamoto will head the new group that will focus on the government sector, infrastructure and utilities, the memo said.

The U.S. bank is betting that demand for debt financing from municipalities will increase as the nation recovers from its worst postwar disaster. Japan’s government is also preparing to exit investments in companies including Tokyo Metro Co. and Japan Airlines Co. through initial public offerings.

“We are strengthening the investment banking structure as demand from public-sector clients will increase as the nation looks to rebuild after the earthquake,” said Masanori Mochida, president of Goldman Sachs Japan Co. in Tokyo. “It will enhance our commitment to help Japan’s central and local governments work on privatization projects and issue bonds.”

Hiroko Matsumoto, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman, confirmed the contents of the memo.

Planes, Trains

State-run Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp. of Japan, which owns shares in Japan Airlines, said on July 1 it will begin selecting lead underwriters this month for an IPO of the carrier by January 2013. Tokyo Metro, a government-owned subway operator, plans to list as soon as possible, according to its business plan.

Koizumi joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 as debt syndicate head in Japan, while Ito entered the bank in 1997 and had a stint at equity capital markets in Hong Kong, according to the memo. Okamoto joined the company in 1998 and has worked at the firm’s debt capital markets division in New York, it said. All three are managing directors.

Goldman Sachs in June helped the Ibaraki prefectural government raise 10 billion yen ($124 million) from a bond issuance backed by future revenue from a waste-processing facility in the prefecture, the local government said.

The U.S. bank has experience backing sales of Japanese government stakes in enterprises including Japan Tobacco Inc. (2914), Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (9432), NTT DoCoMo Inc. (9437) and East Japan Railway Co. (9020), as part of privatization campaigns.

Goldman Sachs was No. 3 underwriter for Japanese equity and equity-linked products last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bank helped Panasonic Corp. (6752), the world’s largest maker of plasma televisions, raise 500 billion yen in Japan’s biggest sale of corporate bonds in March.

To contact the reporter on this story: Takahiko Hyuga in Tokyo at thyuga@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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