Tokyo Electric Power shares at 60-year low

SHARES in Tokyo Electric Power slid 18 per cent to a 60-year low yesterday on fears the firm won’t have enough money to compensate victims of its crippled nuclear plant and uncertainty over the government’s ultimate intentions for the utility.

Tokyo Electric, or TEPCO, is considering early compensation payments to victims of the disaster at its stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, executive vice-president Takashi Fujimoto told a news conference.

The company is yet to determine the extent of the damage from the 11 March earthquake and tsunami that knocked out a fifth of its power-producing capacity. But Bank of America-Merrill Lynch estimated last week TEPCO could face compensation claims of more than $130bn (£80bn).

TEPCO has so far offered 200m yen (£1.5m) in “condolence money” to 10 towns to aid people forced to evacuate from near its stricken plant or affected by radiation leakages. This is separate from any formal compensation.

The price of insuring TEPCO debt against default has spiked as more investors bet the company will struggle to pay creditors.

The share price plunge to 362 yen comes as India yesterday banned all food imports from Japan.