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    Ford may reduce Mazda stake as Kerkorian sells

    HotNewstTurkey with wires
    22.10.2008 - 17:03 | Son Güncelleme:

    Ford Motor, reeling from plunging U.S. car sales, may cut its stake in Japanese affiliate Mazda Motor to raise cash as billionaire Kirk Kerkorian sells his stake in the company.

    Mazda may buy some of Ford's shares in the Hiroshima-based carmaker, two people familiar with the discussions said last week.


    The remainder will be bought by other companies, including Hiroshima Bank, Tokio Marine Holdings and parts-makers, Kyodo newswire reported today, without saying where it got the information.


    Mazda spokesman Craig von Essen declined to comment on the report, Bloomberg reported.


    Selling part of its 33.4 percent stake in Mazda will help Ford to raise cash as the credit crunch makes borrowing more difficult.


    Mazda's shares fell 13 percent in Tokyo on Wednesday, contributing to a 56 percent year-to-date decline. Ford's Mazda stake is worth 117 billion yen ($1.17 billion) at current prices.


    "Ford may not be able to raise much cash," Koji Endo, an auto analyst at Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) Ltd., who has an `outperform' rating on Mazda shares, told Bloomberg.


    "This is not bad for Mazda because new shareholders will be more financially stable than Ford."


    Ford has been an investor in Japan's fifth-largest automaker since 1979.



    Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's investment firm, Tracinda Corp., said Tuesday it sold part of its stake in Ford, taking millions of dollars in losses on the investment and marking an abrupt about-face from the optimistic expectations he had for the automaker just four months ago.


    Tracinda Corp., which sold the 7.3 million Ford shares at an average price of $2.43, added that it plans to further cut what is now a 6.1 percent stake in the No. 2 U.S.-based automaker, for a potential total loss of more than half a billion dollars.


    The company said it may sell its remaining 133.5 million shares depending on market conditions.


    Like the other U.S. automakers, Ford has struggled in recent years to right-size itself and return to profitability by shuttering plants and dramatically downsizing its U.S. work force.


    But in the months since, high gas prices, a slumping overall economy, low consumer confidence and the tightening of credit markets have taken their toll on the automaker and the industry overall.


    Ford also faces difficult times in Turkey, due to declining demand. The world's second largest automaker recently announced that it would halt its production lines in two factories in this country.


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