NTT to Buy Back Up to $1.4 Billion in Shares to Help Returns

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  • Target roughly matches previous buyback, pushing up ROE
  • Shares have declined about 10% this year on rising competition
Photographer: Yuya Shino/Bloomberg

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japan’s former phone monopoly, plans to buy back as much as 150 billion yen ($1.4 billion) of its shares to enhance investor returns.

The parent company of NTT Docomo Inc., the country’s biggest wireless provider, will repurchase as much as 31 million, or 1.57 percent, of its shares from Feb. 22 to June 30, the company said Wednesday in a statement. The shares are down about 10 percent this year.

NTT has spent hundreds of billions of yen buying shares back to help drive up returns, even as profit growth and share prices have slumped amid rising price competition. Return on equity stood at 9.5 percent for the quarter ended Dec. 31, below the 11.2 percent for Nikkei 225 Stock Average companies in the period.

The government still owned about 32 percent of the company as of March 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The next two largest shareholders are the Government Pension Investment Fund Japan, with about 5.9 percent and NTT itself with about 5.6 percent, the data show.

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