Orix Plans to Spend $1.5 Billion on Takeovers in Next Year

Orix Corp., Japan’s most acquisitive financial firm, plans to spend 150 billion yen ($1.5 billion) on takeovers around the world in the next 12 months, President Makoto Inoue said.

In the U.S., Orix is interested in buying non-financial companies such as solar-power plants and wind-farm operators, Inoue said in an interview in Tokyo on April 8. The company is also looking to acquire peripheral assets from European banks, while in Asia it’s waiting for prices of potential targets to drop further, he said.

“We’ll only buy something exciting and reasonable price-wise,” said Inoue, 61, without giving specific targets.

Orix, whose operations include leasing, lending and real estate, has been expanding abroad as a shrinking population limits the domestic growth potential of Japanese businesses. The Tokyo-based firm announced more than 20 investments in companies over the past two years, the most of any Japanese financial institution, in deals valued at about $4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It’s considering bidding for Standard Chartered Plc’s PrimeCredit Ltd. consumer finance unit in Hong Kong, two people with knowledge of the matter said this month. London-based Standard Chartered wants to sell the firm for about $700 million, one of the people said.

Shares of Orix fell 0.5 percent to 1,339 yen at 9:46 a.m. in Tokyo, extending this year’s decline to 28 percent. The benchmark Topix index gained 0.3 percent this morning, and is down 13 percent in 2014.

Hartford Talks

Orix said last month that it’s in talks to buy Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.’s Japan operations. The Connecticut-based insurer and Orix are close to a deal, two people with knowledge of the discussions said in March.

The Japanese company completed its largest takeover last year, when it bought Rabobank Groep’s Robeco Groep NV asset-management unit for 1.9 billion euros ($2.6 billion).

“If there is any good deal, we would be willing to spend as much as we did to buy Robeco,” said Inoue, who has been president since 2011 and became co-chief executive officer with incumbent Yoshihiko Miyauchi, 78, on Jan. 1. “Effective use of funds is becoming more important.”

Orix’s return on equity, a measure of how well companies reinvest shareholders’ money, increased to 8.43 percent as of yesterday from 7.36 percent in March 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company targets 10 percent.

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