Takata shares surge on news of $1bn US settlement
Faulty air bags linked to 16 deaths as firm still faces potential liabilities of $10bn
A billboard advertisement for Takata in Tokyo: it has recalled about 100 million defective air bags linked to at least 16 deaths worldwide, including 11 in the US
Shares in Takata jumped 16 per cent on Friday after sources said the beleaguered air bag maker would plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing as part of a $1 billion settlement with US authorities. The settlement included a $25 million criminal fine, $125 million in victim compensation and $850 million to compensate car-makers who had suffered losses from massive recalls, the sources said.
“Takata has taken a step forward regarding the air bag issue with the US justice department and this is being taken positively by the market,” said Mitsushige Akino, executive officer at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, but he added that the firm’s woes were far from over. Takata still faces a potential $10 billion in liabilities after recalling about 100 million defective air bags linked to at least 16 deaths worldwide, including 11 in the United States.
Shares in Takata surged 16 per cent, or by ¥150, its daily limit, to give it a market value of about $770 million. It is seeking a financial backer to help it restructure, but while some bidders want Takata to go through bankruptcy to wipe out most of its debt, creditors such as Honda are likely to resist any bailout that includes bankruptcy as they would have to shoulder significant losses, sources have said.
Sources have also said that bidders for Takata include rival inflator maker Daicel Corp in partnership with US buyout firm Bain Capital, US air bag maker Key Safety Systems, which is expected to team up with US private equity firm Carlyle Group LP, Swedish car safety group Autoliv and US parts maker Flex-N-Gate. – (Reuters)