Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co.’s Reiji Ogino repeats in second place. “Fundamentals for the electric power industry should improve in 2015,” the analyst believes, with year-on-year profit growth stemming from electricity rate hikes and nuclear power plant restarts that will boost margins. Bringing reactors back online has been an ongoing concern, he notes, primarily because the plants did not start up again at the beginning of last year as investors expected. Regarding the domestic utilities industry overall, Ogino, 43, is concerned about the deregulation of the electric power industry that is scheduled to take effect in April 2016 and will be followed by an opening up of the gas industry the following year. Current players will need to develop strategies to maintain and attract customers as new entrants join the marketplace, the analyst says. As for particular stocks, he is bullish on Osaka’s Kansai Electric Power Co. Although he expects the company to post a recurring loss for the fiscal year that ended last month, Ogino believes that Kansai Electric will return to profitability once the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Takahama plant are back online, as is expected in fiscal 2016. Moreover, an expected rate hike in the year ahead should catalyze performance, he adds.