Finance Japanese investments in EU

Nippon Life Insurance partners with AXA Life Insurance

Nippon Life Insurance (日本生命保険相互会社) acquires 1% of stock of AXA Life Insurance

Nippon Life Insurance and AXA to jointly offer health insurance product Medi-AxN

Nippon Life Insurance (日本生命保険相互会社) and AXA Life Insurance announced a partnership, and Nippon Life intends to acquire 1% of outstanding shares of AXA Life Insurance to develop a long-term partnership.

Currently AXA’s market capitalization is US$ 62 billion, therefore Nippon Life’s 1% investment in AXA corresponds to about US$ 0.62 billion.

Nippon Life Insurance and AXA are planning to jointly market the health insurance product Medi-AxN (メディ・アン).

Nippon Life Insurance (日本生命保険相互会社)

Nippon Life Insurance (日本生命保険相互会社) was founded on July 4, 1889, is based on Osaka, and has a total of 70,806 employees (of which 18,481 are in-house employees).

Nippon Life Insurance (日本生命保険相互会社) has 113 branch offices, 1562 sales offices and 12,567 distribution partners.

Nippon Life Insurance (日本生命保険相互会社, 日本生命) is a mutual company (相互会社), and not currently traded on any stock exchange.

Annual sales: YEN 7 201 billion (= US$ 60 billion) (FY 2013)
Net income: YEN 248 billion (=US$ 2 billion) (FY 2013)

AXA Life Insurance (アクサ生命保険株式会社, アクサ生命)

The AXA Group is active in 59 countries with about 157,000 employees, with about 100 million customers.

Annual sales: € 92 billion (2014)

AXA is traded on the Paris Euronext exchange.

Copyright·©2015 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Japanese investments in EU M&A mobile payment

net mobile AG majority stake acquired by NTT Docomo

globalizing Docomo’s mobile payment and content services

bringing German mobile know-how to Japan

On September 11, 2009, NTT Docomo announced a voluntary public tender offer for shares of net mobile AG. The tender offer was closed on November 27, 2009, and Docomo Deutschland GmbH acquired 6,126,567 shares at € 6.35 per share corresponding to 79.59% of the company, at a total acquisition cost of € 38.9 million, thus valuing net mobile AG at € 48.9 million.

Acquisition of Bankverein Werther AG to create Net-m Privatbank 1891 AG

On September 22, 2011, NTT Docomo announced the additional investment of up to € 28.4 million (YEN 3.1 billion) in net mobile AG, for the purpose of net mobile AG acquiring Bankverein Werther AG.

The company goes back to the foundation of the financial cooperative “Vorschussverein zu Werther”, which was founded in 1877 in Werther, near Bielefeld in Germany. In 1891, the Vorschussverein zu Werther was transformed into the bank “Bankverein Werther Aktiengesellschaft”. During 2011, Net Mobile AG acquired 93% of shares of Bankverein Werther AG. On December 1, 2011, the traditional banking business, including the trademark “Bankverein Werther” was sold to the regional bank “Volksbank Paderborn-Höxter-Detmold eG“.

With the sale of the traditional banking business and the tradename and brand, the bank reentered the market as Net-m Privatbank 1891 AG. At the end of 2012, Net Mobile AG acquired all remaining shares, so that Net-m Privatbank 1891 AG became a 100% owned subsidiary of net mobile AG.

net mobile AG

net mobile AG was founded on 9 October 2000 in Köln, and headquarters later the same year moved to Düsseldorf (Handelsregister/trade registry No. HRB 48022). In 2001, Net Mobile AG acquired SMS Infowelt. net mobile AG’s business at that time was marking info-SMS, ringing tunes, and other information services for mobile phones.

net mobile AG is a public company, traded at the Frankfurt and München Stock Exchanges (Freiverkehr).

Currently the market cap of net mobile AG is € 77 million (US$ 94 million).

Share ownership (according to the net-mobile website):

  • 87,13 % DOCOMO Deutschland GmbH, a 100& subsidiary of NTT Docomo Inc.
  • 12,87% traded on the Frankfurt and München stock exchanges

net mobile AG subsidiaries

Copyright (c) 2014 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

EU investments in Japan EU-Japan business FDI Finance M&A market entry

Tokyo AIM became the Tokyo PRO market, and London Stock Exchange quits Japan. Here is why!

Tokyo AIM: LSE sells its share in the Tokyo AIM joint venture to Tokyo Stock Exchange and leaves Japan

Initially, London Stock Exchange and Tokyo Stock Exchange created Tokyo AIM as a joint-venture company in order to create a jointly owned and jointly managed Tokyo AIM, modeled according to the very successful London AIM model.

Nikkei: “Tokyo Stock Exchange has learnt enough from the London Stock Exchange to set up a similar market on its own”

However, on March 26, 2012 NIKKEI reported that “Tokyo Stock Exchange has learnt enough from the London Stock Exchange to set up a similar market on its own. TSE plans to improve the rules of its own new market, so that TSE can create a more welcoming market” (our translation of the original Japanese NIKKEI article to English).

London Stock Exchange withdrew from the venture, and Tokyo Stock Exchange took over 100% of Tokyo AIM. Essentially, London Stock Exchange AIM’s venture into Japan failed, while the stock market created by the venture continues without London Stock Exchange’s involvement. As explained in our blog here, these events are very very similar to what happened with NASDAQ about 10 years earlier!

Tokyo AIM is renamed TOKYO PRO Market and TOKYO PRO BOND Market

In 2012, the name was changed from Tokyo AIM, to TOKYO PRO Market and TOKYO PRO BOND Market. Details can be found here:

Some background about the mistakes which led to the failure of both NASDAQ and London Stock Exchange AIM to build business in Japan can be found here:

Copyright·©2014 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Finance Japanese investments in EU M&A

Japanese insurance SOMPO acquires UK reinsurer Canopius Group Ltd

Japanese insurance SOMPO part of NKSJ Holdings acquires UK reinsurer Canopius Group from Bregal Capital

In order to globalize, Japanese insurance company Sompo Japan (株式会社損害保険ジャパン), part of the insurance group NKSJ Holdings (NKSJホールディングス株式会社, TSE / JPX: No. 8630) announced yesterday the acquisition of 100% of the UK re-insurer Canopius Group Limited, operating on Lloyd’s for UKL 594 million (US$ 972 million), from the current owners. Current majority owner of Canopius is Bregal Capital.

Canopius will keep the brand, company name, and management team.

Canopius: one of the top ten insurers on the Lloyd’s market

Canopius, is an insurance group, one of the top ten insurers in the Lloyd’s market, was founded in December 2003, almost exactly ten years ago, via a Management Buy-Out (MBO) with UKL 25 million capital, which grew about twenty-fold to about UKL 500 million today, and today has about 560 employees.

Canopius is named after Nathaniel Canopius, native of Crete, who studied at Balliol College, Oxford, apparently introduced coffee drinking to Oxford around 1637 (according to the Canopius website), and later became Archbishop of Smyrna (Source: “Anglicans and Orthodox, Unity and Subversion, 1559-1725”, by Judith Pinnington, 2003, ISBN 0-85244-577-6, page 15).

Sources: press announcements by the companies, websites.

Japan to EU investment trend

While European investments in Japan are steady, Japanese corporations are investing heavily in Europe, approximately EURO 10 billion per year, in order to globalize and to expand their global foot print, and to acquire new know-how, which is clearly both the case here.

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Finance mobile payment

Mobile payment in EU vs Japan: 10 years to reinvent the wheel?

Mobile payments for transport first introduced commercially in Tokyo January 28, 2006

Tokyo (mobile SUICA, FeliCa) vs. London (OYSTER, Mifare)

Mobile payments are big: Reuters estimates that the mobile payment market will be about US$ 1000 Billion by 2016, and in Japan just a single railway line achieves already now several US$ billion in mobile payments per year.

Mobile payment in London:

On July 17, 2012 The Wall Street Journal reports, that as far as Transport for London is concerned, there is no viable mobile payment solution at this time:

  • Transport for London sees no way to use mobile payments at ticket barriers at this time, because the technology is not advanced enough
  • London’s state-of the art mobile payment transactions take longer than 500 milli-seconds which is too slow for Transport for London requirements

Mobile payment in Tokyo:

While no viable solution has yet been found in London, in Tokyo millions of people use “mobile SUICA” mobile payments every day at Tokyo’s rail, subway, tram lines and buses:

  • mobile payments at ticket barriers were first demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003 (photo below shows a demonstration at a trade show in Tokyo in 2004)
  • “mobile SUICA” mobile payments were commercially introduced to the public since January 28, 2006
  • payment transactions take 100 milli-seconds or less, which would fulfill Transport for London’s speed requirements
  • in addition mobile SUICA also has a full e-money function, and can be used at 1000s of stores all over Japan for payments, and for 1000s km of high-speed trains all over the main island of Japan, between Hakata and Aomori.

Why does it take at least ten years to reinvent the mobile payment wheel in London?

Why is it that a problem the solution of which was demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003 and put to commercial use every day since January 28, 2006 without any problems, has not yet been solved in London even today?

The answer to this question is of course complex, and you will find elements of a discussion of this question on pages 185-188 of our mobile payment report (click here for free download which includes pages 185 – 188, pdf-file).

In our opinion the answer for this huge delay even today in the age of globalization and internet is a combination of:

  • human nature and
  • the huge communication gap and disconnect between European organizations and companies and Japanese organizations and companies and
  • the totally different way in which banking systems, payment systems, and also the commercial structure and way of thinking of transportation companies are organized regulated in EU vs Japan.

We have been working on mobile payment and e-money issues here in Tokyo for about 10 years or longer, and you may be interested in some of our reports:

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·


Tokyo AIM stock market rebirth under Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) alone?

Tokyo AIM – will it go the same way as NASDAQ-Japan?

Nikkei: “Tokyo Stock Exchange has learnt enough from the London Stock Exchange to set up a similar market on its own”

Tokyo AIM (the stock market joint venture between Tokyo Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange) seems to be heading along a similar road as NASDAQ-Japan about 10 years earlier, according to an article in NIKKEI this morning (morning edition of March 26, 2012).

Tokyo Stock Exchange plans to create a market more welcoming than Tokyo AIM

Nikkei reports this morning that “Tokyo Stock Exchange has learnt enough from the London Stock Exchange to set up a similar market on its own. TSE plans to improve the rules of its own new market, so that TSE can create a more welcoming market”.

Reminds me of NASDAQ-Japan almost exactly 10 years ago:

At the end of 2002 I met with one of my friends, until a few days earlier CFO of NASDAQ-Japan, which terminated operations in Japan on October 15, 2002. I asked him as many questions as I could to build myself a good picture of why NASDAQ had not been successful in Japan, and why NASDAQ decided to terminate its operations in Japan. (After our conversation he offered my small company the used office furniture of NASDAQ-Japan at a good price, had I accepted this offer, my company’s people would all be sitting on x-NASDAQ-Japan chairs and desks…)

NASDAQ initially entered Japan in a joint-venture with Softbank

NASDAQ initially entered Japan in a joint-venture with Softbank, and built the NASDAQ-Japan stock exchange in cooperation with the Osaka Stock Exchange (OSE). When NASDAQ decided to terminate operations in Japan in October 2002, about 100 companies were listed on NASDAQ-Japan.

NASDAQ quit Japan, and NASAQ-Japan became the HERCULES Stock Market

The stock market built up by NASDAQ in Japan became HERCULES (full name: Nippon New Market Hercules) when NASDAQ exited Japan, and in December 2008 Osaka Stock Exchange acquired JASDAQ, and October 12, 2010 Hercules, JASDAQ and NEO were merged to form New-JASDAQ. This year, 2012, there were 7 IPOs on the New-JASDAQ, and about 1000 companies are currently traded on New-JASDAQ.

Interesting to see that NASDAQ-Japan’s market and probably also the market to evolve now from TOKYO-AIM are success stories from the OSE and the TSE points of view, while NASDAQ and now apparently London-Stock-Exchange AIM withdrew from Japan.

Lots to learn here for foreign companies with complex high-tech businesses such as stock exchanges entering and building business in Japan.

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·


Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank ECB in Tokyo

European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean-Claude Trichet gave a presentation here in Tokyo on April 18, 2009 about the current financial and economic crisis.

Trichet blamed the crisis on an underpricing of the unit of risk. He also emphasized that its not a general crisis affecting all companies and financial institutions, but that some badly managed companies and banks are in bad shape, while well managed companies and financial institutions are in good shape and doing fine.

Trichet praised excellent international cooperation in taking measures to improve economic and financial stability and he also mentioned that unconventional steps will be announced at future meetings.

Overall his words were very carefully chosen and defensive, well aware of the impact of his words on the capital markets

European Central Bank ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet
European Central Bank ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·


Investor AB – briefing 30 Swedish CFOs about Japan

by Gerhard Fasol

Investor AB’s corporate academy Novare requested education about Japan’s technology industry sector

Eurotechnology Japan KK educates 30 CFOs of Investor AB portfolio companies about Japan

April 24, 2006 was my Swedish Day: for breakfast I was invited to IKEA’s opening party for their new store in Funabashi (I met even with the global Chairman of IKEA – that he attended the opening in Funabashi shows how seriously IKEA is taken the market entry to Japan) – we had done some IT work for IKEA.

Lunch and afternoon I spent with about 30 Swedish CFO’s / controllers of some of the largest Swedish corporations, who had come to Japan on a study tour. These CFO’s/Controllers were all working at companies in Investor AB’s portfolio, and the program was organized by Investor AB’s Corporate Academy Novare.

Investor AB CFOs needed education about Japan’s telecom sector, particularly regarding Ericsson and Nokia

The Swedish controllers had asked for briefing on Japan’s telecom industries. Some of their companies are considering to start, re-start, or grow faster in Japan, so there were many detailed questions about business in Japan, what can go wrong, personell issues, experience of other multinationals, and of course a lot of questions about IKEA and Vodafone.

My presentation was similar to the presentation I had given on March 23, 2006 to the Technology Attaches of the Embassies of the 25 European Union countries, which lead the European Union to award our company a project contract about EU vs Japan benchmarking issues in telecoms and key technology areas.

Copyright 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved