The president of Mazda Motor Corp. on Tuesday denied media reports that Ford Motor Co. plans to increase its equity stake in the Japanese automaker.
Speaking at a news conference to introduce his company’s fully remodeled Familia, Mazda President James Miller said, “We iterate that there are no plans at this time.” Last month, Ford Chairman Alex Trotman said it was conceivable for Ford to raise its stake in Mazda from the current 33.4 percent. Amid recent realignment of automakers worldwide, speculations linger that Ford may increase its shareholding ratio in Mazda in the near future.
Miller described Trotman’s comment as “support and complement” for Mazda’s improvement of its financial condition, and added that the relationship has been and will be strengthened with Ford regardless of its equity stake in Mazda. Even if Ford’s shareholding in Mazda increases to more than 50 percent, there will be no change in the manner in which the two companies pursue a strengthened relationship, he said.
The recent improvement in Mazda’s financial health may make it more feasible for Ford to purchase more Mazda shares, Miller said. “The total financial condition at Mazda makes it much more attractive from an acquisition standpoint,” he said.
Ford is reported to be planning to increase its investment in Kia Motor Co., an ailing South Korean automaker, from its current 9 percent to more than 50 percent. Miller said the move would have a positive impact on Mazda.
But Miller said Mazda sees no benefit in raising its equity stake of about 8 percent in Kia for now because of the South Korean automaker’s huge debts. Mazda has always been a passive investor in Kia, he said. “We have no plans to change our role nor our shareholding.”
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