Denso Corp., one of the world’s top automotive semiconductor manufacturers and a key supplier to Toyota Motor Corp., may consider spinning off its chip business, which generates around ¥420 billion ($3.1 billion) in sales, the company’s chief technology officer said Friday.

Well known as the world’s second-biggest auto-parts-maker, Denso has also quietly built up a presence in automotive chips. Now, with semiconductor-related capital expenditures totaling around ¥160 billion over the past three years, Denso ranks as the world’s fifth-largest supplier of automotive chips by sales.

"We need to think about whether the time will come when we sell semiconductors, alone, externally,” CTO Yoshifumi Kato said in an interview at Denso’s headquarters in Aichi Prefecture. "It’s worth looking into whether that kind of structure is possible.”