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CHIP TECH
Japan Inc. comes together to save Renesas: report
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 22, 2012


Major Japanese companies have teamed up with a government-backed turnaround fund to rescue troubled chipmaker Renesas, in a move designed to block a purchase by a US investment firm, a report said Saturday.

A consortium, which includes Toyota Motor and Panasonic, is looking to invest more than 100 billion yen ($1.28 billion), with plans to acquire a majority stake by the end of the year, the Nikkei business daily said.

The participating firms -- which also include Nissan Motor, Honda Motor, Canon and Fanuc Corp. -- want to ensure stable supplies of high-quality microcontrollers from Renesas, it said, without citing sources.

The team also includes such parts makers as Denso and Keihin, as well as the government-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), while considering also inviting Germany's Bosch and other foreign companies, it said.

Under the INCJ's lead, the team is drawing up an investment plan that could be presented to Renesas main shareholders NEC Corp., Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric as early as next month, the report said.

Major lenders including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Corporate Bank will also take part in the talks, it said.

Japan's microchip sector has struggled with a strong yen and fierce competition, especially from South Korean and Taiwanese rivals.

Japanese manufacturers, including Renesas, were also hit by last year's quake-tsunami disaster.

In late August, a US investment fund, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, proposed investing about 100 billion yen in Renesas, it said.

Major lenders are wary that microcontroller supplies could be disrupted if KKR pushes for significant additional restructuring.

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