Nissan Motor is considering liquidating its 41% interest in autoparts maker Calsonic Kansei, with an eye toward using the proceeds to bolster electric vehicle and artificial intelligence research and development.
The sale may raise more than US$ 913 million based on Calsonic Kansei's recent stock market capitalization.
U.S. and European investment funds, as well as major foreign autoparts makers, appear to be showing an interest in taking Calsonic Kansei shares off Nissan's hands.
Calsonic Kansei's mainstay products are heat exchangers, mufflers and air conditioners. The company has two production facilities in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Nissan sees demand growth for autoparts for gasoline and diesel engine vehicles hitting a ceiling in developed countries over the medium to long term. This expectation provides the basis for selling the Calsonic Kansei shares, since the company's focus is on autoparts for conventional vehicles.
For its part, Calsonic Kansei will seek to lower its dependence on Nissan, which now accounts for roughly 80% of its business, by accelerating efforts to cultivate markets, with a focus on emerging economies. Tie-ups with other autoparts makers and investment funds will likely play some role in those efforts.
Nissan is stepping up development of electric vehicles, as environmental regulations continue to get tougher around the globe. It recently decided to take a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors, which is reeling from a fuel economy data scandal. The move will likely help Nissan bolster development of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.