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Nissan, Hitachi Construction Merge Forklift Operations

April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co., Japan’s second-biggest carmaker, and Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., the world’s largest maker of giant excavators, agreed to merge their forklift operations through a new venture.

Nissan will own 20 percent, and Hitachi Construction will hold 26.7 percent of the venture, and the remaining shares will be owned by the government-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, which will provide 30 billion yen ($367 million) to the new company, according to a statement from Nissan today.

The merger comes as Nissan targets to win 8 percent of the global car market by March 2017, through cutting back on businesses outside its main vehicle division. Nissan Forklift Co., a fully owned unit of the Yokohama-based company, produces about 30,000 forklifts a year in Japan, Europe and the U.S., according to its website. The new company, to be called UniCarriers Corp., will begin operations this year.

Hitachi Construction Machinery, Japan’s second-largest maker of excavators and wheel loaders, made TCM Corp. a forklift unit in 2005 and acquired all the shares it didn’t already own in December 2009.

Shares of Hitachi Construction rose 0.5 percent to 1,813 yen at the close of Tokyo trading, while Nissan’s shares added 0.5 percent to 844 yen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Mukai in Tokyo at amukai1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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