By Takashi Nakamichi
TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- The Japanese government plans to sell part of its stock holding in Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (9432.TO) sometime in the next fiscal year for around Y300 billion, partly to help finance overseas infrastructure projects undertaken by Japanese firms, a government official said Wednesday.
The government is planning to channel roughly Y200 billion of the expected proceeds into the overseas investment and loan programs of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, a government-affiliated lender, the official told Dow Jones Newswires.
The official said NTT is expected to buy stocks from the government in off-hours trading, but he declined to say when the transactions will take place.
The move underscores Japanese efforts to take better advantage of overseas demand to boost the country's moribund economy, where consumption is expected to remain largely sluggish for years to come because of a shrinking population. Helping Japanese firms to build and manage social infrastructure abroad is a key pillar of the government's long-term growth strategy adopted in June.
The government is also hoping to pass legislation next year to empower JBIC--whose traditional role is to finance large-scale infrastructure projects in developing nations--to support companies doing business in advanced economies overseas.
NTT retired some shares in November, a move it plans to do again as early as fiscal 2011. That will raise the government's ownership in NTT to around 40%. As the required minimum stake in the company is one-third, the government will likely sell around 6% of the company's shares.