Friday, 24 March 2017
Last updated 14 hours ago
May 13 2008 | 9:16am ET
Brushing off a last-minute appeal from the activist hedge fund, Japan today ordered The Children’s Investment Fund to drop its bid to double its stake in the country’s largest electric utility.
The decision, communicated to TCI by Japan’s central bank in the form of a letter from the country’s finance and trade ministries, is the first time Japan has used a law allowing it to keep foreign stakes in industries vital to national security below 10%. London-based TCI currently owns 9.9% of Electric Power Development Co., better known as J-Power, and had sought to take a 20% stake in the company.
In recommending the rejection last month, a government panel called TCI’s bid a threat to “public order.” J-Power owns the only transmission grid linking all four of Japan’s main islands, and plans to build its first nuclear power plant, which will use only recycled nuclear fuel.
“TCI has never indicated clear plans how to avert an adverse impact on J-Power’s nuclear-plant project, such as a major delay or cancellation,” Keiichi Kawakami, director of trade promotion at Japan’s trade ministry, said. TCI had offered to forego its voting rights on nuclear power issues if it were allowed to proceed with the acquisition.
The hedge fund has until July 14 to file a complaint against the decision. If the government rejects the complaint, TCI can appeal to the courts.
TCI faces a fine of up to ¥180 billion (US$1.75 billion), and founder Christopher Hohn faces up to three years in prison, if the hedge fund is found in violation of the law.