The largest initial public offering (IPO) in the world this year got off to a painfully slow start, with more than 30 minutes passing before shares in Japan Post companies changed hands on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
A decade in the making, three entities went public today: the postal arm, the banking division and the insurance division of Japan Post. But trade remained bid-only for some time amid heavy orders. The postal business, Japan Post Holding, eventually opened up 15.5 percent at 1,617 yen, against an IPO price of 1,400 yen per share.
Japan Post Bank also jumped more than 15 percent to 1,652 yen, from an IPO price of 1,450. Japan Post Insurance was yet to trade at of 9.40am local time. Each business floated just 11 percent of its stock.
The triple IPO, Japan's largest since the 1980s, transforms the 144 year old institution forever, and given that the banking arm alone has 1.7 trillion yen ($14 billion) in assets, the impact will ripple through the Japan's banking sector, its economy and global financial markets.
Hours before the IPO, unusually high security and dozens of company officials and brokerage staff opened the doors to the exchange early in anticipation of heavy media interest. Sections of the exchange were cordoned off as final preparations were made.
The IPO was squarely geared towards the domestic retail sector, which has been reluctant to move assets away from traditional bank deposits into riskier assets, despite repeated nudging by the government over the years.