Hanatour Service Inc., South Korea’s largest travel agency, is seeking to list its Japanese subsidiary on Tokyo Stock Exchange later this year. Once its stocks are listed, its market capitalization would reach 278.8 billion won ($248.7 million).
The company on Friday said in a regulatory filing that its board approved a plan to list total 11 million shares of Hanatour Japan Co. including 1 million new shares on Tokyo Stock Exchange. It aims to list the stocks on Dec. 15 but did not disclose whether it has already hired an underwriter for Hanatour Japan’s initial public offering (IPO).
The Japanese unit was set up in 2005 after Hanatour Service acquired Woojin Tour, a Japan-based travel agency founded by Lee Byung-chan in 1999. Lee is currently chief executive of Hanatour Japan.
The Korean parent company is hoping to use the proceeds from the IPO of Hanatour Japan to invest in other tourism-related businesses, such as hotels, duty free stores, and travel buses, in Japan. Last year, the Japanese subsidiary accounted for 17 percent of Hanatour’s overall revenue, becoming the third-largest revenue generator after the entity in China with 32 percent and Southeast Asia with 19 percent.
Welcoming the news on the upcoming IPO of its Japanese unit as well as signs of recovery in relations between Korea and China, investors have rushed to pick up shares of Hanatour Service. Its stocks ended Monday at 108,500 won, up 3.3 percent or 3,500 won, from the previous session after hitting another intraday 52-week peak at 114,000 won.
The company will tap demand from institutional investors between Nov. 29 and Dec. 5, according to its regulatory filing.
By Chung Woo-sung and Lee Eun-joo
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