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Japan set to raise $4 billion from IPO of JR Kyushu railway

Associated Press Associated Press 5 days ago By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer

TOKYO — The Japanese government expects to raise 416 billion yen ($4 billion) from the initial public offering of 160 million shares of Kyushu Railway Co., or JR Kyushu, the latest in the privatization of this nation's prized train operations.

The initial price is 2,600 yen ($24) a share, the company said Monday, the highest in the range initially announced as from 2,400 yen ($23).

The move is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics" revival program. Hopes are high that Japanese people, who tend to save rather than spend, might see the IPO as a safe investment.

Japan's southwestern main island of Kyushu has a bullet train line and other, less successful local trains.

JR Kyushu will list on the Tokyo Exchange on Oct. 25. A day later it will list on the regional Fukuoka exchange.

JR Kyushu, established in 1987, has seen its operations pick up in recent years as tourism from overseas has revived. But it is still suffering from the effects of earthquakes in April; some sections of its system are still under repairs.

The share offering is among the biggest IPOs this year, after the Postal Savings Bank of China and Innogy, a German renewable energy company.

In the late 1980s, Japan's state-owned railway system was reorganized into several entities to become more competitive and efficient.

The trains here almost always run on time. In Tokyo and other major cities, the JR systems are supplemented by private trains systems, a myriad of subways and fancy monorails.

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