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No. 361, October 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


Shares of TOYOTA MOTOR CORP., the world's third-largest automotive manufacturer, now are trading on the New York Stock Exchange and on the London Stock Exchange in addition to their Tokyo Stock Exchange listing. Executives of the cash-flush company said that the two listings were designed to give investors around the world easier access to its stock rather than to raise capital. Coming at a time of consolidation in the world automotive industry, though, analysts saw in the move an attempt by Toyota to highlight its position as a global, first-tier company. In conjunction with the listings on the NYSE and the LSE, Toyota adopted accounting practices that make its finances more transparent to investors. The shares offered on the New York exchange were part of the 45 million shares released by three major Toyota stockholders: MITSUI TRUST & BANKING CO., LTD., MITSUI MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE CO. and CHIYODA FIRE & MARINE INSURANCE CO., LTD.

With drug discovery becoming an ever higher-stakes process for pharmaceutical companies that want to be counted among world leaders, FUJISAWA PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. established a $5 million fund to make equity investments in start-up American drug research ventures. The goal of FUJISAWA INVESTMENTS FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP, L.P. is to supplement its parent's drug-discovery work with the innovative research ideas or technologies of entrepreneurial businesses. FUJISAWA RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF AMERICA, INC., the firm's U.S. research arm, is in charge of Evanston, Illinois-based FITE.

HIKARI TSUSHIN, INC., which has started to make a name for itself over the last year or so as an investor in American Internet and other high-technology start-ups, joined two California venture capital firms in providing $22.25 million in financing for STOCKPOWER INC. The San Francisco business has created a transaction and security system that enables Fortune 500 companies to sell stock directly to individual investors via their Web sites. StockPower will use the trio's money for continued e-commerce technology and product development as well as for national marketing.

An exchange rate of ¥108=$1.00 was used in this report.

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