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Takata says it's selling shares in automakers to raise cash

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 - 12:18
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Takata Corp, the embattled air-bag maker behind the biggest automotive safety recall, said it's selling shares it owns in automakers to raise funds as the company faces compensation claims for its defective devices.

[TOKYO] Takata Corp, the embattled air-bag maker behind the biggest automotive safety recall, said it's selling shares it owns in automakers to raise funds as the company faces compensation claims for its defective devices.

Takata is selling the stakes with the carmakers' approval, said Akiko Watanabe, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo-based supplier, declining to give more details. The company sold much of its 2.2 million shares in Honda Motor Co, its largest customer, by late April, the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported Tuesday.

Besides Honda, Takata also owned shares in Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, Mitsubishi Motors Corp and Suzuki Motor Corp as of March 2015, according to the company's annual report. The automaker shareholdings are worth about US$88 million as of yesterday's closing prices, according to calculations by Bloomberg News.

Takata appointed an external steering committee in February to draw up a restructuring plan for the company, which is potentially facing billions of dollars in recall costs, the majority of which are being borne by automakers. The five-member group, which is negotiating with carmakers on the sharing of the recall costs, hired Lazard Ltd to look for investors.

Nissan, Toyota and Mazda declined to comment on Takata's shareholdings in their companies, while representatives for the other automakers didn't immediately comment. Takata's shares fell 2.7 percent to 392 yen as of 12:32 pm in Tokyo trading, while the benchmark Topix index slid 1.5 percent.

At least 13 deaths, including 10 in the US, have been linked to defective Takata air-bag inflators that can deploy too forcefully, rupture and spray plastic and metal parts at drivers and passengers.

The number of air bags recalled may exceed 100 million worldwide after regulators' latest demands for expansions in the US and Japan.

BLOOMBERG