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In an apparent move to expand and strengthen their housing business, Toyota Motor Corp. and its subsidiary increased their shareholding in USK Corp., a Tochigi-based housing company, to 45.4 percent from 33.9 percent, the company announced Wednesday.

To increase its stake in USK, which sells houses it builds using the two-by-four method, the Toyota group invested 1.28 billion yen to obtain 10.13 million shares.

Toyota’s housing business, which specializes in prefabricated houses, has been in the red since it began in 1975. By strengthening its relationship with USK, Toyota hopes to jointly procure building materials and develop products with USK, the firm said.

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