June 23, 2014 / 7:31 AM / 3 years ago

Japan's Orix to buy majority stake in auto prototype maker

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese financial company Orix Corp said it plans to buy a majority stake in automobile prototype maker Arrk Corp from a government-sponsored fund, its latest in a string of acquisitions.

Orix said on Monday that it would pay 14.8 billion yen ($145 million), or 55 yen per ordinary share. Arrk manufactures samples of automobile and electronic appliance parts.

Orix, which would gain around 81 percent of the voting rights in the company, said it did not plan to delist Arrk. Arrk shares last traded at 285 yen, up by its daily limit, after the companies said they were considering a deal.

Orix has become one of the most acquisitive financial companies in Japan as it expands from its original leasing business to real estate and investment banking.

In late April, it agreed to buy the Japanese unit of Hartford Financial Services Group for $895 million, a week after it said it would buy a metal and jewelry recycler from Baring Private Equity Asia. Last year, it spent about $2.6 billion on Dutch asset manager Robeco.

The deal also marks an exit for the Regional Economy Vitalization Corporation of Japan (REVIC), a state-backed fund that extended a lifeline to Arrk in 2011 after the company’s aggressive M&A strategy backfired.

The fund’s predecessor, the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corp, injected 350 billion yen into Japan Airlines Co and generated a profit of around $4 billion less than three years later by selling its take in the carrier’s IPO.

Reporting by Tokyo Newsroom; Editing by Matt Driskill

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