Recruit Co., an information provider and staffing agency once embroiled in an influence-peddling scandal, plans to go public as early as fiscal 2013 and aggressively seek expansion overseas.
The company will strengthen staffing services in the United States and provide travel information online in Asia and elsewhere, sources said.
Recruit President Masumi Minegishi outlined the listing plan at a shareholders' meeting on June 22.
“We will accelerate global expansion through mergers and acquisitions and operational alliances,” Minegishi told employees in an e-mail the same day.
Recruit, a well-known provider of jobs information, operates the Rikunavi employment information site. The company became the world’s fourth-largest staffing agency after acquiring Advantage Resourcing America Inc. and Advantage Resourcing Europe BV for $410 million last year.
In 2007, Recruit turned Staff Service Holdings Co., Japan’s industry leader, into a subsidiary.
Recruit has announced plans to raise the ratio of overseas sales to 50 percent in five to six years, up from less than 10 percent at present.
It plans 400 billion yen to 500 billion yen in overseas investments, such as acquisitions of foreign companies. The listing is expected to help procure the necessary funds.
Recruit expects the IPO will also enhance public trust in the company in expanding overseas operations, sources said. Listed companies are required to disclose management information.
“We have accumulated expertise in many sectors in Japan,” a company official said. “We want to utilize it in overseas markets where the economy is growing.”
Recruit will probably list its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange or the Osaka Securities Exchange, sources said.
In 1988, founder Hiromasa Ezoe was found to have provided pre-listed shares in real-estate subsidiary Recruit Cosmos to leading politicians, bureaucrats and executives.
The shares-for-favors scandal forced the company to go under the umbrella of retailer Daiei Inc. in 1992. Recruit regained independence, after rebuilding its operations and buying back shares from Daiei in 2000.
Recruit’s sales, which increased to 1 trillion yen in fiscal 2007, have fallen below 800 billion yen. The company plans to regain the 1-trillion-yen mark in the current fiscal year by focusing on overseas operations.
As of March 2011, employees owned 13.89 percent of Recruit, the largest share. Other major shareholders include Dai Nippon Printing Co., Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Dentsu Inc.
(This article was written by Ryuichiro Takeshita and Masanobu Furuya.)
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