Japan's Chubu Leads Utility Gains as Cheap Fuel Spurs Profits

  • Company raises profit, dividend outlook for next fiscal year
  • Japan prices for imported LNG fell by 50% over the past year

Japanese utilities including Chubu Electric Power Co. and Tokyo Electric Power Co. rose after reporting profits last week spurred by cheap fuel.

Chubu, Japan’s third-largest power utility, rose as much as 7.9 percent to 1,654 yen in Tokyo trading, the biggest intraday increase since May 2013, after Friday raising its profit and dividend forecasts. Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s biggest electricity provider, increased as much as 6.8 percent after quadrupling its third-quarter operating profit, according to calculations based on nine-month results released last week.

The average arrival price of LNG imported into Japan, the world’s biggest user of the supercooled fuel, was $7.50 per million British thermal units in December, a 50 percent drop from a year earlier, according to government data. The decline in fuel prices is helping Japan’s power companies counter falling power use, which slumped to a 17-year low in 2015 as the country’s population shrinks and amid efficiency gains.

Chubu Electric expects to post net income of 155 billion yen in the fiscal year ending March 31, an 11 percent increase from a previous forecast, it said Friday after markets closed. Tokyo Electric, known as Tepco, posted operating profit of 78.1 billion yen ($646 million) for the three months ended Dec. 31, up from 15.9 billion yen a year ago, according to calculations based on nine-month results released on Friday.

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