Nissan increases stake in troubled Mitsubishi
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TOKYO, May 12 Reuters - Nissan Motor Co is in advanced talks to take a roughly one-third stake in Mitsubishi Motors Corp with a $US1.8 billion ($A2.44 billion) investment, as Mitsubishi struggles with a fuel-economy data scandal, two people familiar with the matter say.
If the 200 billion yen deal goes through, Nissan, Japan’s second-largest automaker by sales, would become the largest single shareholder of the much smaller Mitsubishi Motors, which admitted last month that it had supplied Nissan with mini-vehicles with overstated mileage levels.
The deal would give Nissan a bigger stake in Mitsubishi than its 15 per cent holding in alliance partner Renault.
The French automaker holds a 43.4 per cent stake in Nissan.
The boards of Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors will meet separately on Thursday to decide investment and operational details, said the sources, one from each carmaker.
Press officials for the companies could not immediately be reached for comment.
The news comes just hours after Mitsubishi Motors said it had enough cash to weather the scandal and warned non-compliant data may have been used to calculate the fuel economy for more of its cars.
Mitsubishi’s market value has fallen around 42 per cent or $US3.0 billion since the scandal broke on April 20, on fears of hefty compensation costs, while sales of its mini-vehicles halved in April.
The automaker is part of the Mitsubishi business empire, or “zaibatsu”, which was split up into independent companies after the Second World War.
It has strong ties with its sister companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Mitsubishi Corp , and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, which together with subsidiaries hold roughly a 34 per cent stake in the automaker.