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    1407   JP3154750008

WEST HOLDINGS CORPORATION

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Delayed Japan Exchange  -  02:00 2022-07-06 am EDT
4260.00 JPY   -0.58%
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Japan's investors raise bets on Kono in leadership race

09/13/2021 | 01:20am EDT
Taro Kono, Japan's vaccination programme chief and ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker, announces his candidacy for the party's presidential election in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's stock investors have raised bets Taro Kono will become the country's next prime minister, snatching up renewable energy and office technology shares that are expected to benefit under his economic policies.

At the same time, investors are now trimming holdings of some medical service shares that had previously benefited on now fading expectations former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, an advocate of spending in that sector, could succeed outgoing Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Weekend polls showed vaccine minister Kono emerging as a strong favourite to become the next leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and therefore prime minister, well ahead of Kishida and former defence minister Shigeru Ishiba.

While there are few specific details about each candidate's economic platforms, investors are nonetheless positioning themselves ahead of the Sept. 29 LDP vote.

"Some foreign investors are buying Japanese stocks on Kono hopes," said Hiroyuki Ueno, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management. "But his economic policies are still not that clear, including his stance on the Bank of Japan's monetary policy, so there is a risk markets may get disappointed."

Kono is known as a critic of nuclear power and investors expect him to promote a further shift to renewable energy given Japan last year adopted a carbon neutral goal.

His improved political prospects since the start of the month have pushed renewable energy firm Renova up 47% over that period while rival West Holdings has gained 26%, easily beating 6.5% gains in the broad Topix index.

LDP leadership race and Japan stocks

Similarly, Kono, as administrative reform minister, has spearheaded efforts to abolish the use of "hanko" seals, personal signature stamps traditionally used for managerial approval and seen as a symbol of Japanese corporate inefficiency.

His improved chances supported firms that provide document digitalisation services. Bengo4.com, which offers electronic contract service, has risen 8.4% so far this month while GMO GlobalSign, a web certificate service firm, added 9.7%.

Kishida's chances were undermined after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, one of his main backers, switched his support to lesser-known former home affair minister Sanae Takaichi.

Kishida has pledged to expand the country's medical capacity to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak so his candidacy and initially strong support helped shares in that sector.

However, his subsequent loss of momentum has hit those shares with Leoclan, a medical equipment trading firm, shedding some of its gains of more than 20%. MRT, which offers web-based staffing service for doctors and hospitals, also lost steam.

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano and Noriyuki Hirata; Editing by Sam Holmes)

By Hideyuki Sano


© Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
HIRATA CORPORATION 0.70% 4290 Delayed Quote.-33.33%
NIKKEI 225 -1.20% 26107.65 Real-time Quote.-8.23%
RENOVA, INC. -3.50% 2512 Delayed Quote.25.02%
SUMITOMO MITSUI FINANCIAL GROUP, INC. -3.03% 3972 Delayed Quote.3.88%
SUMITOMO MITSUI TRUST HOLDINGS, INC. -4.37% 4118 Delayed Quote.12.05%
TOPIX INDEX -1.23% 1855.97 Delayed Quote.-5.68%
WEST HOLDINGS CORPORATION -0.58% 4260 Delayed Quote.-25.22%
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Financials
Sales 2022 66 667 M 491 M 491 M
Net income 2022 4 060 M 29,9 M 29,9 M
Net Debt 2022 25 724 M 189 M 189 M
P/E ratio 2022 42,7x
Yield 2022 1,31%
Capitalization 173 B 1 276 M 1 276 M
EV / Sales 2022 2,98x
EV / Sales 2023 1,89x
Nbr of Employees 346
Free-Float 49,6%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 6
Last Close Price 4 260,00 JPY
Average target price 6 255,00 JPY
Spread / Average Target 46,8%
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Managers and Directors
Takashi Kikkawa Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Eiichiro Egashira President & Representative Director
Eiji Shiiba Director
Takuo Osako Director
Kazuo Nakajima Outside Director
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