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Suzuki To Buy Back Own Shares

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Suzuki Motor Corp said on Friday it plans to buy back up to 20 per cent of its own shares by Nov 16 next year, contingent on Volkswagen releasing them, marking the latest move in a spat between the two automakers.

Suzuki has been seeking a breakup of their two-year-old alliance because it is unhappy with what it says is the German automaker's failure to treat it as an equal partner. In September it served VW with a notice of breach of contract, accusing its top shareholder of withholding hybrid technology.

If Volkswagen does not release the shares to Suzuki or to a third party specified by Suzuki, the Japanese carmaker said it will seek mediation.

VW bought a 19.9 per cent stake in Suzuki in 2009 for about 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) to bolster its presence in the Indian market for small cars.

For Suzuki the tie-up was supposed to give access to technology it could not afford to develop on its own, but the partnership has failed to deliver any meaningful cooperation.

Suzuki will hold a media briefing on the matter at 5 p.m. (0800 GMT).

(Reuters)