Volkswagen mulls buying Isuzu: magazine

FRANKFURT Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:46pm BST

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen said a decision on a possible stake in Isuzu Motors was currently not on the agenda after a report it was considering buying all or part of the Japanese truckmaker.

VW and MAN, the German truckmaker that is 30 percent owned by VW, also discussed the possibility of MAN taking a stake in Isuzu, monthly Manager Magazin said in an excerpt of an article to be published on Friday.

MAN declined to comment on Wednesday.

According to Reuters data, Isuzu has a market cap of about $5.86 billion, or roughly 4 billion euros.

The Japanese truckmaker closed flat at 292 yen per share.

Any purchase of a stake in Isuzu would come at a time at which the outlook for Japan's market is uncertain following an earthquake and tsunami that hit the country last month.

Daimler, which makes trucks in Japan via its Mitsubishi Fuso joint venture, last month scrapped its outlook for the local truck market after having to temporarily halt production in its Kawasaki plant.

MIXED BAG

European automakers have had mixed experiences with past attempts at tie-ups with Japanese peers.

Volkswagen, which aims to overtake Toyota as the world's biggest carmaker, is working on a partnership with Suzuki. Little progress has been made in over a year, with VW blaming cultural differences in decision-making at the Japanese small car maker.

PSA Peugeot Citroen and Mitsubishi Motors work together on projects including electric cars, SUVs and a Russian factory. The partners tried to engineer an equity swap to cement their partnership but abandoned talks about a year

A 12-year-old alliance of Renault and Nissan is often cited as a successful example of a cooperation in an industry littered with failed partnerships.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is engaged in a number of major M&A projects, in addition to Suzuki, that have stalled recently, including a planned cooperation between its truckmaker Scania

and German rival MAN and plans to fold Porsche into its empire.

(Reporting by Jan Schwartz and Angelika Gruber; Writing by Maria Sheahan)

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