Tepco Mulls First Public Bond Sale in Japan Since Fukushima

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Tokyo Electric Power Co. is considering returning to Japan’s bond market next September in the first public offering since the disaster at its Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power facility in 2011.

Tepco, as the utility is known, plans to raise a total of 330 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in the fiscal year starting April 2016, the Nikkei newspaper reported Monday. The company has hired five sales managers including SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., according to the report. Tepco spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi said the utility is considering bond sales from September but couldn’t confirm other details when reached by phone.

A public debt offering would be Tepco’s first in six years after it halted bond sales following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima site. The disaster put Tepco on the verge of default, with the head of Japan’s biggest stock market saying in 2011 that the company should file for bankruptcy protection. Tepco was saved by a 1 trillion yen infusion from the government the following year, the nation’s largest bailout since the 1990s.

The company’s operating profit tripled last quarter to 228.3 billion yen as a drop in fuel prices helped cut costs. Its share price has risen about 78 percent this year. Tepco’s probability of debt non-payment in a year has decreased to about 0.3 percent from more than 6 percent at the start of 2012, according to the Bloomberg default-risk model, which considers factors such as share prices and debt.