Tokyo (AFP) April 17, 2011
Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) plans to sell its shares in telecom operator KDDI worth $2.2 billion to help fund compensation its the nuclear accident, a newspaper said Sunday.
TEPCO, which runs the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, holds some 360,000 shares in KDDI, or an eight percent stake, making it the firm's third-largest shareholder, after Kyocera Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp.
The embattled power operator is already sounding out the telecom firm about the sale of its shares worth about 180 billion yen ($2.2 billion) at the current market price, the Nikkei business daily said.
The KDDI shares account for roughly half of TEPCO's stockholdings in some 250 business partners and other firms, the newspaper said.
TEPCO is likely to sell the shares to several institutional investors, with the help of brokerage firms, the Nikkei said, adding that the timing of the sale and share price have not been determined.
On Friday, TEPCO said it would give an initial one million yen to each family living around the radiation-leaking Fukushima Daiichi power station which was damaged by the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The company estimates payouts to the approximately 50,000 households covered by the plan will cost around 50 billion yen.
But the 50 billion yen cost likely represents only a fraction of the final bill TEPCO faces in the aftermath of the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years ago.
Radiation from the overheating reactors has made its way into the air, land and sea, resulting in bans on produce from the affected area and hurting the fishing industry because of public fears over radioactive seafood.
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