March 27, 2010 / 6:37 AM / 9 years ago

BYD to take over Japanese die factory -Nikkei

TOKYO, March 27 (Reuters) - Chinese car and battery maker BYD Co (1211.HK) will buy a plant from a major Japanese metal die manufacturer to enhance its competitive edge in auto production, Japan’s Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.

BYD will take over Ogihara Corp’s factory in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, about 70 km (43 miles) north of Tokyo, on April 1, to manufacture high-precision metal dies for use at its Chinese factories, Nikkei said.

The purchase amount is unknown, Nikkei said, adding that the plan is expected to help BYD narrow the technical gap with Japanese and Western rivals as higher-precision dies would improve the quality of auto bodies and other products.

Enjoying rapid growth in China, which overtook the United States to become the world’s largest car market last year, BYD plans to lift capital expenditure by 58 percent this year as it embarks on an aggressive expansion plan. [ID:nTOE62E049]

The Hong Kong-listed firm’s vehicle business is its strongest-performing segment, accounting for more than half 2009 revenue.

Officials at the both companies were not immediately available for comment.

One of Ogihara’s four domestic die production bases, the Tatebayashi plant makes dies for hoods and other auto body parts, accounting for some 20 percent of its production capacity at home.

Ogihara supplies dies to Japanese and foreign automakers, including General Motors Co [GM.UL]. Its earnings have been sliding due to the yen’s rise and weak domestic demand, Nikkei said. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

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