Mizuho Subprime Losses to Exceed $1.9 Billion

Japan's Mizuho Financial Group is likely to book subprime-related losses of over $1.9 billion, more than an earlier forecast, and may inject more funds into its brokerage unit, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Wednesday.

Japan's second-biggest bank is set to book subprime losses of over 200 billion yen (US$1.9 billion) and perhaps more than 250 billion yen, compared with an earlier estimate of 170 billion yen, it said.

The bigger losses come after turmoil in global financial markets pushed down prices for securitised products held by Mizuho Securities, the paper said.

Mizuho has already committed to injecting some $1.4 billion to prop up its faltering brokerage, which has been forced to delay its planned merger with brokerage Shinko Securities by four months until May.

The additional losses will likely mean Mizuho will have to revise down its annual earnings forecasts when it reports on Wednesday, the paper said.

Mizuho is currently projecting a net profit of 650 billion yen for the year to the end of March.

Japanese lenders have, however, avoided the huge subprime losses that have hit overseas rivals, and Mizuho has said it would invest $1.2 billion in Merrill Lynch, the first major investment by a Japanese bank in a U.S. rival since 1989.