Peter Alford, Tokyo correspondent for The Australian, weighs in on recent goings-on with Nikko Cordial (OTC:NIKOY) -- its scandal, the threat of being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and the Citigroup takeover attempt.
Alford says the way the TSE used to handle companies under threat of being delisted unjustly punished shareholders and employees. But the TSE announcement that Nikko would not be delisted -- the timing of which was surprising -- served the interests of both here:
Even if Citigroup's tender fails, investors who stuck with Nikko Cordial and speculators who got set over three months, can anticipate the price remaining sturdy. The company will remain on the Nikkei 225 index, which means most Japanese fund managers will again buy the weighting.
Only one or two commentators have claimed the exchange's decision will erode foreign confidence in Japanese equity markets. They're wrong. It's the regulatory mindset characterised by summary de-listing that worries offshore investors.
Alford writes that "the Nikko Cordial episode could be the template for a new approach." It well could. The corporate climate in Japan has been changing in recent years. Agonizingly slow it seems. And the general climate for shareholders is not yet up to standards those of us in the Anglo-Saxon style capitalist countries take for granted.
But change is coming and I'm hopeful the toothpaste won't be going back in the tube.