Suzuki Motor Corp. confirmed that Volkswagen AG has sold back all the shares it held in the Japanese carmaker for ¥460.3 billion, closing the final chapter of an acrimonious partnership.
Suzuki repurchased all 111.6 million shares held by its German peer, according to a Tokyo Stock Exchange filing. An international arbitration court last month upheld Suzuki’s request to sever their ties and force Volkswagen to sell its 19.9 percent stake.
Rather than pursue other partnerships, Suzuki has been urged to focus on its dominant India operations and Maruti subsidiary by Daniel Loeb, whose hedge fund Third Point LLC has disclosed it bought a stake in the carmaker. Chairman Osamu Suzuki, who brokered the deal with Volkswagen, has said Suzuki will insist on safeguarding its independence in any future dealings with other carmakers.
The filing did not address Suzuki’s plans for what the company will do next with the repurchased shares. Third Point believes the automaker should cancel the stock to benefit existing shareholders, Loeb told reporters last month.
The share purchase, approved by Suzuki’s board of directors Wednesday, terminates the two companies’ partnership since December 2009. Volkswagen paid ¥220 billion to obtain the Suzuki stake.
The Japanese automaker said in August it would buy back all of the stake held by Volkswagen following the court’s arbitration ruling.
Suzuki asked for arbitration by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in November 2011, after Volkswagen refused to terminate the partnership deal and vowed to retain its Suzuki stake.
Volkswagen and Suzuki had initially planned to cooperate on small, fuel-efficient cars for emerging economies, providing the smaller Japanese automaker with access to technology and helping Volkswagen improve on its laggard position in the Indian market. Relations deteriorated in 2011 after the Japanese company agreed to buy diesel engines from Fiat, and the companies accused each other of breaching the accord. A specialist in inexpensive cars, Suzuki sells about a quarter as many vehicles as global rivals like Volkswagen and Toyota Motor Corp. Its lack of scale could pose a challenge as the company faces the rising development spending necessary to make greener autos and outfit them with costly safety technology.