Japan’s Mitsubishi hits all-time high on share buyback plan; cash pile in focus

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares of Mitsubishi Corp hit an all-time high on Wednesday, a day after the Japanese trading house pledged to spend 500 billion yen ($3.4 billion) to buy back shares.

Mitsubishi, Japan’s top trading house, on Tuesday said it would buy back up to 10% of its shares, which, together with an earlier buyback and an annual dividend, will bring total shareholder’ returns to 94% for the year ending in March.

Its shares hit a record high of 2,812.5 yen on Wednesday, rising 11% from Tuesday’s close and outperforming the Nikkei index which was down 0.20% at 0523 GMT.

Mitsubishi was the second-best performing stock on the index after GS Yuasa Corp which was up nearly 20%.

Mitsubishi has another 500 billion yen of excess cash that it could return to shareholders through end-March 2025, Jefferies analysts said in a note.

“If the company does not find attractive acquisition targets, we think that management would release the excess cash back to shareholders,” Jefferies note said.

The company posted record-high net profit last year after commodity prices soared on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mitsubishi Chief Executive Katsuya Nakanishi did not provide details of possible acquisition targets at a briefing on Tuesday but said the United States was a promising market for investment as it had high self-sufficiency in energy and food.

“We will have to wait and see the results of the U.S. election, but I think the U.S. will remain a strong market” for investments, Nakanishi said.

“I would also like to see us use our money in the areas where we can promote EX (energy transformation) and DX (digital transformation) in an integrated manner.”

Japan is the biggest foreign investor in the United States but Donald Trump’s pledge to block Nippon Steel’s planned purchase of U.S. Steel if he retakes the White House could prompt Japanese companies to be more cautious when sizing up deals, say analysts, lawyers and executives.

($1 = 147.9100 yen)

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Yuka Obayashi; Additional reporting by Brigid Riley; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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