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Japan's Asahi Glass to issue up to $1.1 bln bonds

Post Time:Nov 26,2009Classify:Company NewsView:408

* Bond issue represents 11 pct of market cap

* Wants to invest in LCD glass, solar panel materials

* Some funds to pay back debt, shore up capital

* Shares up 0.9 pct vs 0.5 pct rise in Nikkei (Adds details, background, share price)

TOKYO, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Japan's Asahi Glass Co (5201.T) said on Wednesday it will raise up to 100 billion yen ($1.1 billion) by issuing euroyen convertible bonds to prepare to expand capacity in flat TV panel glass and solar panel materials.

Asahi Glass, which is eyeing demand for liquid crystal displays in emerging markets and solar panels worldwide, plans to use 70 billion yen to expand capacity and develop new products, and the rest to pay back some of its interest-bearing debt.

"The bonds will give us the flexibility to invest if and when we need to," said spokesman Masahiko Tobari. "Some may say we don't need to do this now, but we want to be prepared so that when we see an opportunity we can grow."

The two bond issues of 50 billion yen each, to be arranged by Nomura (8604.T), are the firm's first in six years and represent 11 percent of Asahi Glass's total market capitalisation.

Asahi Glass, which competes with Nippon Sheet Glass (5202.T) in Japan while dwarfed by sector leader Corning Inc (GLW.N), is eyeing a smaller net loss this year as demand for flat panel display glass and auto glass picks up.

Japanese firms including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (8306.T) and Hitachi Ltd (6501.T) are rushing to raise funds by issuing commmon stock or convertible bonds when they can, acting as a drag on share prices. [ID:nT141402]

Asahi Glass shares, which have risen by almost 60 percent in calendar 2009, closed up 0.9 percent ahead of the announcement, against a 0.4 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average .N225. ($1=88.34 Yen)

(Reporting by Mayumi Negishi) ((

Source: ReutersAuthor: shangyi

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