Japan to sell $10bn stake in Japan Tobacco

Damage caused by March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Ishimaki City, Miyagi Prefecture
Image caption The March 2011 disaster devastated Japan's north-east coast

Japan's government has said it will sell a third of its stake in Japan Tobacco, to raise $10.3bn (£6.8bn) for the reconstruction of areas devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The Ministry of Finance currently owns about one billion shares, or 50%, of the former state monopoly.

It is now selling 333 million shares, according to a regulatory filing made in Tokyo.

Japan Tobacco is the world's third largest tobacco company.

Japan's parliament passed a set of bills in 2011, which allowed it to implement tax rises and sell shares in state-owned companies to help fund the expected $270bn cost of rebuilding the north-east coast following the earthquake.

Shares in Japan Tobacco closed on Monday at 2,901 yen. Based on that price, the stake being sold is worth about 967bn yen ($10.3bn).

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