May 14, 2007 / 11:23 AM / 12 years ago

Goldman raises stake in Japan EAccess mobile unit

TOKYO, May 14 (Reuters) - Japan’s EAccess Ltd. 9427.T said on Monday it plans to sell some of its stake in its mobile phone unit to Goldman Sachs (GS.N), in a move that would let the parent company strengthen its balance sheet and boost its dividend.

The transaction would give bigger returns to Goldman, among the first investors in the Japanese mobile venture, when the unit goes public, currently expected around 2011-2012.

EAccess, among three companies granted new wireless licences in 2005, has raised about $3 billion to help build a nationwide network from scratch, by taking out loans and selling shares in the mobile unit to investors including Goldman and Singapore’s Temasek TEM.UL.

The share sale would turn the wireless unit EMobile from a consolidated subsidiary of EAccess into an affiliate, reducing the amount of the unit’s losses the parent company would be required to book in group earnings.

Emobile also appointed Chief Financial Officer Eric Gan, 43, as president and chief operating officer, having been managing director of Goldman before founding the telecom operator.

Based on the new accounting relationship expected with its wireless arm, EAccess on Monday also said it plans to raise its annual dividend to 2,300 yen from the planned 1,800 yen for 2006/7.

The operator forecast an unexpected 91 percent jump in operating profit to 2 billion yen in the year started April.

That compares with a mean forecast for a loss of 21.2 billion yen in 2007/8 based on 5 analysts surveyed by Reuters Estimates.

Goldman Sachs plans to pay 12 billion yen for 100,000 shares in EMobile, lifting its stake to 35.7 percent from 29.8 percent. EAccess’s stake will fall to 37.6 percent from 43.5 percent.

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