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Dai-Ichi Life Cuts Tepco Stake by More Than Half Over Six Months

Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co., Japan’s second-largest life insurer, sold shares in Tokyo Electric Power Co., following on with an unwinding of its holdings in the utility as the stock price collapsed after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Dai-Ichi Life cut its stake in the power company known as Tepco by at least 59 percent to less than 14 million shares in the six months ended Sept. 30, according to Bloomberg calculations using data on Tepco’s website. The Insurer had reduced its stake to 2.22 percent, or 35.6 million shares, from 3.42 percent in the six months ended March 2012.

“We sold Tepco shares after considering various issues with the utility,” Yasufumi Maruyama, a spokesman at Dai-Ichi Life, said by phone. He declined to give details, including whether the insurer still holds Tepco stock. Tepco spokesman Yusuke Kunikage declined to comment.

The insurer booked a 110.4 billion yen ($1.4 billion) charge for losses from securities revaluations, most of it on Tepco, for the quarter ended March last year. The stock has lost 94 percent of its value since the quake and tsunami in March 2011 caused triple meltdowns and radiation release at the utility’s Fukushima nuclear station.

On July 31, the government-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund took control of the utility in return for 1 trillion yen capital injection to avoid a bankruptcy of Tepco, which supplies electricity to Tokyo, Japan’s biggest metropolitan area.

The state-run fund owned 54.69 percent of Tepco as of September, while the utility’s employees shareholding association had 1.26 percent, making it the second biggest shareholder, according to data on the utility’s website. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Nippon Life Insurance Co. hold 1.01 percent and 0.99 percent respectively, according to the website. Dai-Ichi Life wasn’t on the list.

Tepco reported a net loss of 782 billion yen last fiscal year which followed a 1.25 trillion yen deficit in the year ended March 2011 due to costs from the Fukushima disaster.

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