Reports from Japan suggest that Japan Post could post a major loss of Yen40 billion (US$364m) for its first full financial year as a listed company, after unveiling a Yen400bn (US$3.6bn)
write-down on its Australian logistics arm Toll Holdings Ltd.
The postal company acquired the transport group for around A$6.48bn (US$5.07bn) in May 2015.
The reports said that the potential loss could affect the Japanese government’s plan to sell its stake in the postal giant, which also has banking and insurance units.
A Financial Times report said that Toll’s operating income tumbled between April and December last year as low global resource prices weighed on the Australian economy and on Toll’s core domestic business.
Investment criticiced right from the start
Under its former president, Taizo Nishimuro, Japan Post acquired Toll in a deal that was criticised by analysts at the time for being too expensive and for stretching the Japanese management of the former state-owned postal services group beyond its capabilities.
Masatsugu Nagato, who became president of Japan Post Holdings last year, was not involved in the original Toll purchase and has privately questioned the logic of the deal, made no apology for the write-down.
Further backing of Toll by Japan Post
However, the FT quoted him as saying that “risk management (of Japan Post) at the time was too loose and we were too optimistic about the future of the Australian economy.” He added that communication between Toll and Japan Post would be “closer” and that governance would be improved by adding Japan Post executives to Toll’s management.
Despite cutting more than 1,700 jobs at Toll in the year to March 2018, Nagato said Toll would remain the “core” of the overall company’s globalisation plans and he would continue to look for overseas deals.
Nol van Fenema