TOKYO, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Hitachi Ltd is
considering selling about half of its 50.8% stake in Hitachi
Construction Machinery as part of its strategy to sell
listed units with little synergy, the Nikkei business daily
reported on Friday.
The sale would represent a final tranche of Hitachi's
decade-long business portfolio overhaul, in which it sold
chip-making equipment manufacturer Hitachi Kokusai Electric and
chemicals maker Hitachi Chemical in recent years.
State-backed fund Japan Investment Corporation (JIC) is
among potential investors in Hitachi Construction, the Nikkei
Hitachi Construction, a smaller rival to Caterpillar Inc
and Komatsu Ltd, has a market value of about $7
billion. It forecasts sales of 770 billion yen ($7.35 billion)
for the year ending in March.
Shares of Hitachi Construction plunged more than 15% after
the Nikkei report.
Hitachi plans to retain part of its stake to keep access to
autonomous driving technologies for construction machinery,
according to the Nikkei.
Hitachi said in a statement the company was weighing various
options to boost its corporate value but that no decision had
been made. A Hitachi Construction spokeswoman said the report
was not something that the company has announced.
JIC said in a statement it was not true that the fund was
considering investment in Hitachi Construction.
Hitachi has been among the most aggressive of Japan's
conglomerates in reorganising its business, selling non-core
assets while buying foreign businesses to expand its digital
Reuters reported last month that Hitachi planned to launch a
sale of another listed unit, Hitachi Metals Ltd, as
early as this month in a deal that could be worth more than 700
billion yen ($6.6 billion).
The Japanese government has pointed out potential conflicts
of interest between publicly traded parent companies and their
listed subsidiaries and set corporate governance guidelines for
($1 = 104.7100 yen)
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki, Chang-Ran Kim and Tetsushi
Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Stephen Coates)