GM is selling its approximate 20% equity stake (about 157 million shares) in Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), the maker of Subarus. Toyota is buying slightly less than half of those shares, and will end up with a 8.7% stake in FHI. The rest will be sold into FHI’s just announced open-market buyback program and through market sales if necessary.
The sale is valued at about US$740 million, or less than half of the shares’ value on GM’s books.
M is raising cash after posting US$1.4 billion in losses in the first half, having its debt rating reduced to junk, and being confronted with the need to try to help its largest supplier, Delphi, ward off looming bankruptcy.
“It’s surprising how fast GM is selling off the family silver,“ said Graeme Maxton, a director of the Economist Intelligence Unit in Hong Kong. “It rings alarm bells.” (Bloomberg)
The alliance between GM and FHI will end and GM will refocus its efforts and resources in the Asia Pacific region’s high-growth markets and with its other strategic partners, the company said in a statement issued this morning.
Since GM acquired a stake in FHI in 2000, the companies have been involved in various joint projects in product development, advanced technology, global purchasing and supply chain management, and product distribution. GM currently partners with FHI on one production vehicle, the Saab 9-2x, which will continue.
Other joint arrangements with FHI will be dissolved over time. For example, GM and FHI’s previously announced Saab crossover vehicle development program will be cancelled.
Rumors had circulated earlier this year about a possible tie-up between Toyota and Fuji Heavy in hybrid technology, in which Toyota would provide FHI with hybrid drive technology and FHI would provide Toyota with Lithium-ion batteries. (Earlier post.)
FHI since opted to go with its own hybrid drive technology for the recently announced Subaru Turbo Parallel Hybrid. (Earlier post.)
Interestingly, even though GM had a 20% stake in the company, FHI distinctly declined to participate in the two-mode hybrid development program of GM and DaimlerChrysler.
Toyota stated this morning that it and Fuji Heavy plan to cooperate in “vehicle development and production,” with Toyota using unspecified “various advanced technologies.”
We’ve had a good partnership; however both GM and FHI came to the conclusion that there were not enough collaborative projects to sustain the alliance and that each of our interests could be better served through a different approach. We have a great deal of respect for FHI and Toyota . We wish them well in their new relationship.—Troy Clarke, GM group vice president and president, GM Asia Pacific.