Nissan seeks sale of auto parts distribution unit in $1b deal

A logo of Nissan Motor Co is seen on a steering wheel as a woman drives her car in Golfech, southwestern France. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Nissan Motor Co. is seeking to sell a wholly-owned subsidiary that distributes vehicle parts and materials in a deal that may be valued at about $1 billion, as the struggling Japanese automaker seeks to slim down, people familiar with the matter said.

The company has invited private equity and trading firms to bid for 100% of Nissan Trading Co., according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The buyer may be selected by as early as October, according to the people. The target valuation includes assumed debt, they said.

A sale of the unit, which generated revenue of 676.1 billion yen ($6 billion) in the fiscal year ended March, would help Nissan free up cash to help turn around its broader business that’s been hurt by slumping U.S. sales, aging vehicle models and an out-of-sync product cycle. The automaker stepped up restructuring measures in July, which also included 12,500 job cuts, after its operating profit hit a decade low.

The sale process is ongoing, and no agreements have been reached, the people said. Koji Okuda, a spokesman for Yokohama-based Nissan, said he couldn’t immediately comment.

Earlier this week, Hiroto Saikawa stepped down as Nissan’s chief executive officer after the board asked him to resign, with Chief Operating Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi taking over until a permanent replacement is appointed by the end of October. The restructuring measures and management shuffle is part of the turmoil unleashed following the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn in November for alleged financial crimes. He has denied all charges and is awaiting trial next year.

Nissan Trading, established in 1978, does business in South Korea, Mexico, India, the U.K., China and the U.S., with 37% of revenue coming from vehicle components and 47% from materials. Nissan shares pared a 1.1% decline to close at 713.9 yen in Tokyo, down 0.4%.

Bloomberg

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.