Japan's Honda buys out India car JV partner

NEW DELHI Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:05am EDT

A logo of Honda Motor Co is reflected on a roof of a vehicle at a Honda dealer in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo July 31, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

A logo of Honda Motor Co is reflected on a roof of a vehicle at a Honda dealer in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo July 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Japan's Honda Motor Co (7267.T) has bought a 3 percent stake it did not already own in its Indian car unit from a local firm in a deal worth 1.8 billion rupees ($32.5 million), ending a partnership of more than 16 years.

Usha International, part of India's diversified Shriram Group, said in a statement on Friday it sold its entire 3.16 percent stake, or 18 million shares, in the joint venture to the Japanese partner for 100 rupees apiece, including a non-compete fee.

Usha's exit is symbolic of a growing trend of overseas manufacturers tearing up local partnerships in India and pumping billions of dollars into wholly-owned Indian units.

The buyout completes a drawn-out separation between the two partners, which began when Honda proposed a costly investment in diesel vehicle production facilities in India.

Usha and Honda had been negotiating over the value of the Indian company's holding in the joint venture for the past few months.

Last year, Honda sold its entire 26 percent stake in India's largest two-wheeler maker to the local partner - Hero Group - to focus on the two-wheeler business on its own in the country.

($1=55.3250 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sanjeev Choudhary)

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