Hitachi to take full control of key businesses

TOKYO: Japan's Hitachi Ltd., hit hard by the global recession, plans to spend up to 3.2 billion dollars to take full control of five domestic units with strong growth prospects, a newspaper said Monday.

The sprawling conglomerate, which last year suffered the largest loss ever for a Japanese manufacturer, is looking to pay to 300 billion yen (3.2 billion dollars) for shares in the businesses, the Nikkei business daily said.

The tender offers will begin in late August and are expected to be announced this week, the newspaper said without naming its sources.

The group currently holds stakes of about 50 to 70 percent in the five subsidiaries -- Hitachi Maxell, Hitachi Plant Technologies, Hitachi Information Systems, Hitachi Software Engineering, and Hitachi Systems Services.

The Nikkei said of its 16 listed subsidiaries, Hitachi chose those firms for their strong growth prospects.

Hitachi Maxell makes lithium-ion batteries, used in personal computers and many other electric devices, while Hitachi Plant Technologies constructs nuclear power plants. Hitachi declined to comment on the report.

The Hitachi group, which makes everything from refrigerators to nuclear power systems, logged a net loss of 787.3 billion yen for the last business year to March.