By Atsuko Fukase and Eric Pfanner
The biggest temporary staffing company in Japan, Recruit Holdings Co., said it plans a $1.8 billion initial public stock offering next month, in a bid to finance its ambition of transforming itself into the largest player in the industry worldwide.
The offering will be the latest in a series of big listings in Tokyo this year, which have included IPOs by blue-chip firms such as Japan Display Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204799605/delayed JP:6740 +3.45% and Seibu Holdings /zigman2/quotes/206432739/delayed JP:9024 +2.86% .
Skylark Co., a Japanese restaurant-chain operator, is expected to list next month, and Line Corp., the developer of a popular smartphone messaging application, has also applied for a possible IPO.
The Recruit IPO reflects the growth of temporary employment in Japan, where two decades of economic stagnation have eroded the postwar norm of lifetime employment. A Japanese government survey last year found that the number of non-regular workers — including those working temporary or part-time schedules — had risen to more than 20 million, or 38% of the workforce, up by 1.5 million from the previous report, in 2007.
Recruit has said it wants to become the biggest human-resources firm in the world by 2020, a goal that would require it to leapfrog industry giants like Adecco SA /zigman2/quotes/201694772/delayed CH:ADEN -1.29% , Randstad Holding NV /zigman2/quotes/202421454/delayed NL:RAND -2.09% and ManpowerGroup Co. /zigman2/quotes/200637338/composite MAN +0.27%