TOKYO -- The number of listed companies in Japan rose for the first time in seven years in 2014, data from the country's stock exchanges showed. The number of companies listing their shares exceeded the number that delisted due to mergers or bankruptcy, as young companies sought to take advantage of growing investor interest in such businesses.
As of the end of 2014 there were 3,584 companies listed on Japanese stock exchanges, excluding foreign businesses, an increase of 42 from a year earlier, bringing the number of listed companies to its highest point in three years. The figure was buoyed by 77 newly listed companies, the highest number in seven years. The number of companies that held initial public offerings rose for the fifth straight year in 2014, including by large listings such as Recruit Holdings, a job search company, and railway operator Seibu Holdings.
Meanwhile, the number of companies pulling their stock off the market fell. On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, 42 companies delisted their shares, down 22 from the previous year and the fewest since the 2008 global financial crisis. Most of these companies were delisted because of mergers and buyouts rather than bankruptcy. No listed companies declared bankruptcy in 2014, the first time that has happened in 24 years, according to Teikoku Databank.
The increase in listed companies indicates a better supply of risk capital to companies looking to grow. Market watchers predict around 100 companies will go public this year, including Japan Post Holdings, which would push the number of listed companies higher still.