Giant steps

To bolster its balance sheet, US auto giant Ford is to sell a portion of its stake in Mazda, while General Motors is to sell its remaining equity stake in Suzuki.

Ford’s will reduce its stake in Mazda from 33.4 per cent to just over 13 per cent by selling shares back to Mazda and to a group of Mazda’s strategic business partners, in a deal that will net the company approximately $540m.

Ford and Mazda have been involved in a strategic partnership for almost 30 years. Despite the sell off, the two companies will continue their ongoing joint ventures, as well as the sharing of platforms and powertrains.

For its part, General Motors plans to sell the three per cent of Suzuki’s stock that it owns on the open market for around $230m, but will continue to work closely with the company.

General Motors has held an equity stake in Suzuki since 1981, when it purchased approximately 5.3 per cent of Suzuki shares. General Motors’s stake was diluted to 3.5 per cent in subsequent years, but in 1998 General Motors increased its holding to 10 per cent, and to slightly over 20 per cent in 2001. In 2006, General Motors sold a 17.4 per cent stake in Suzuki.

The two companies will continue to jointly operate their CAMI vehicle manufacturing joint venture in Canada as well as collaborate on the development of powertrains and cross-supplying OEM vehicles.