Yamaha Stock Offering Raises Cash for Electric Cycle Research

Yamaha Electric Concept Motorcycle

According to a report from Reuters News service, Japanese motorcycle maker Yamaha Motor Co said it will raise up to 76.1 billion yen ($812 million) in a share sale to finance the development of fuel-efficient engines and low-cost bikes for emerging markets.

it by a demand slump in the United States and Europe, as well as restructuring costs, Yamaha booked a hefty net loss of 216 billion yen in 2009 and aims to break even this year.

The offering will mark the largest equity-based fund raising by a company in the auto sector since Mazda Motor’s deal to procure 98 billion yen in October last year.

Players in the auto market have entered into a costly race to cope with the demand plunge in the United States, the world’s largest market, as well as a shift in customer appetite toward environmentally-friendly products, including hybrid and electric vehicles.

Yamaha said it will develop more fuel-efficient engines for motorcycles and boats to improve the competitiveness of its products, as well as electric motorcycles and motor-assisted bicycles, for which demand is seen rising.

This is the first equity fund-raising by Yamaha since it raised 40.3 billion yen in May 2007.

The company said in a statement on Friday that it would issue up to 63.25 million shares, including a greenshoe option of 8.25 million shares. The public offering could increase its total number of shares outstanding by 22 percent.

Nomura Securities, a unit of Nomura Holdings, will manage the sale, Yamaha said.

The firm said it would spend a total of 202 billion yen on research and development in the three years to 2012 to help achieve growth in emerging and ASEAN countries and to accelerate the development of environmentally-friendly engines.

It spent 62 billion yen on research and development in 2009 and has budgeted 60 billion yen for the current year.

Under its recently compiled mid-term business plan, the company aims to raise its annual revenues to 1.4 trillion yen by 2012 from 1.15 trillion yen in 2009, although that would still be short of the 1.6 trillion yen achieved in 2008.

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