Kobe Steel Ltd., Mitsui & Co., and Toyota Tsusho Corp. said Friday they have formed a joint venture, Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC.

The three companies will manufacture and market aluminum forgings for automobile suspension systems in the United States. They expect the agreement to allow them to meet more effectively the growing market for automotive aluminum forgings in North America.

The joint venture, to be based in Bowling Green, Ky., will be capitalized at $14 million. Kobe Steel will have a 60 percent share, Mitsui 25 percent and Toyota Tsusho 15 percent.

Production of aluminum forgings is anticipated to begin in June 2005, and the new company will market its products to U.S. and Japanese automakers, the companies said.

They expect annual sales of the joint venture to reach $25 million in 2006.

Kobe Steel has a roughly 90 percent share of the Japanese market for aluminum forgings for automotive suspensions.

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