K Line takeover talk heats up

Tokyo business circles are increasingly convinced that a Japanese fund run out of Singapore called Effissimo will soon move to take over one of the world’s largest shipping lines, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line).

Effissimo has been steadily building its stake in Japan’s third largest line to the point whereby it is now the largest shareholder with a 37% holding as of early August, up from 6.2% a year earlier.

Effissimo Capital Management, established in Singapore by ex-colleagues of activist investor Yoshiaki Murakami, has become the top shareholder in the line as well as in other well known Japanese brands such as office equipment maker Ricoh. Its strategy has been to target Japanese firms it deems undervalued.

“They will keep growing their stake and then set about making big changes at the company,” a source close to both firms told Splash on condition of anonymity.