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Nissan-Volvo Deal and Other Japanese Business News


Japan's Nissan Motor Company sells the majority of its stake in truck maker Nissan Diesel to Sweden's Volvo, while Japan's NTT DoCoMo plans to buy two mobile operations based on the island of Guam.

Japan's Nissan Diesel Sells Stake to Volvo

Nissan Motor Company, which is Japan's second largest automaker, has decided to get out of the truck business. It sold most of its 19 percent stake in Nissan Diesel to the Volvo Auto Group of Sweden.

Volvo is the world's second-largest truck manufacturer. It will buy 13 percent of Nissan Diesel for $195 million, and has an option to buy the remaining six percent from Nissan within the next four years.

Nissan's president, Carlos Ghosn, explained the reasons for the sale. "We don't have an intention to become, also, a truck manufacturer,” he said. “We have a lot of projects in cars. We at Nissan Motors have a lot of prospective of growth, a lot of markets, a lot of products to do."

Volvo hopes to increase its sales in Japan, China and Southeast Asia. Nissan Diesel is Japan's fourth-largest truck manufacturer.

NTT DoCoMo Plans Guam Expansion

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile phone operator, plans to expand in the global market by purchasing two mobile companies in Guam.

The company says it is paying $71.8 million for Guam Cellular & Paging Incorporated and Guam Wireless Telephone Company. NTT DoCoMo plans to merge the two companies, which have 60 percent of the island's mobile customers between them.

The deal must be approved by the United States government, since Guam, a Pacific island located east of the Philippines, is a territory of the United States.

DoCoMo has spent about $16 million in the past 10 years buying stakes in operators around the world, in hopes of expanding the global market for its i-mode mobile Internet technology.

Japanese Stores Expanding Overseas

Japan's Hankyu Department Stores will open its first overseas branch next year, in Taiwan. It will form a joint venture with Taiwan's Uni-President Corporation, which will be operated by the Taiwan company.

And Southern Californians are going to have an easier time buying rice balls, seaweed-wrapped rice crackers and other Japanese foods. Japan's Family Mart convenience store chain is to open its fourth store in the area on Tuesday.

Family Mart faces tough competition from the likes of Japan's 7-Eleven and Britain's supermarket chain, Tesco. But Family Mart said sales at its West Hollywood branch have grown by nearly 20 percent since it opened last summer.

Family Mart is a conglomerate whose activities include natural resources and banking, in addition to its retail operations. It has more than 6,000 stores in Japan, and another 5,500 in other parts of Asia.

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