Toyota, Facing First Loss in 59 Years, Seeks Loans From Japan
By Tetsuya Komatsu and Naoko Fujimura
March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp., forecasting its first loss in 59 years, is seeking loans from the Japanese government as private investors demand up to 50 percent more in interest for the company’s debt.
The company’s financial unit may ask for 200 billion yen ($2 billion) in loans, public broadcaster NHK reported today, without citing anyone. Toyota Financial Services Corp. spokesman Toshiaki Kawai said the unit is in talks with state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation, without confirming the amount.
The carmaker expects a net loss of 350 billion yen after vehicle sales in the U.S., traditionally Toyota’s most profitable market, plunged 31 percent last quarter. Incoming President Akio Toyoda is adding to the company’s reserves as the global recession also forces General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC to get bailouts from the U.S. government.
“Toyota should take advantage of anything it can to get through this crisis,” said Hitoshi Yamamoto, chief executive officer of Tokyo-based Fortis Asset Management Japan Co., which manages $5.5 billion in Japanese equities. “Money is not flowing in the capital markets.”
Automakers usually raise funds through bonds and loans for their financial companies to offer loans for their customers. The government aid would mostly be used to help offer loans to customers in North America, Toyota Financial’s Kawai said.
Toyota sold 80 billion yen in 10-year bonds priced to yield 2.012 percent last month. That compares with 150 billion yen of 10-year bonds sold in August 2002, priced to yield 1.337 percent.
Laying Up Cash
“Toyota is trying to lay up as much cash as it can to protect itself in a worst case scenario,” said Yasuhiro Matsumoto, a senior analyst at Shinsei Securities Co. in Tokyo. “The government loans, combined with the bond sale, show how much Toyota fears the global financial crisis.”
Japan will use some of its foreign-exchange reserves to lend to the state-owned corporation that gives financing to Japanese companies operating abroad, Japanese Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano said today.
Toyota follows other carmakers seeking government help as sales plunge worldwide. GM has received $13.4 billion in U.S. aid and is seeking more to keep its operations in its home market running through this month. France granted PSA Peugeot Citroen and Renault SA a total of 6 billion euros in five-year loans last month. In the U.K., carmakers are seeking support for their finance units from the Bank of England. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has gotten subsidies from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to help pay wages, as it cuts domestic production.