Japan Post surges 26% in market debut

Japan Post IPO nets the company $12 billion
Japan Post IPO nets the company $12 billion

You've got mail! Japan Post Holdings surged 26% in its market debut.

Wednesday's initial public offering was part of a complex stock market debut that saw the Japanese government spin off and also sell the postal operator's insurance and banking subsidiaries. Investor demand was high, with the insurance arm jumping more than 56%, while the banking division gained 15%.

The benchmark Nikkei in Tokyo rose around 1.3%.

The triple IPO is Japan's biggest sale of state assets in decades, and is part of a wider government push to privatize state-owned companies and get money pulsing through the sluggish economy.

Japan had been trying to privatize its postal operations -- known for its iconic red delivery vans and motorcycles -- for roughly a decade, but extreme public resistance to the move had prevented the government from going ahead.

Some experts voiced concern ahead of the IPO about Japan Post's ability to sustain future growth.

"The rise of e-mail and instant messaging may erode the ... mail [business]," analysts at Brown Brothers Harriman noted recently. "The prospects for insurers may be limited by the aging and shrinking population. It is not clear if the [bank] will be able to lend for mortgages."

Other governments have also sold off their postal assets recently, including the U.K.'s Royal Mail in 2013, and Italy's Poste Italiane this year.

-- Alanna Petroff and Yoko Wakatsuki contributed reporting.

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