TOKYO -- Takata Corp., the embattled airbag maker behind the industry's biggest ever automotive safety recall, said it's selling shares it owns in automakers to raise funds as it faces compensation claims for its defective devices.
Takata is selling the stakes with the carmakers' approval, said Akiko Watanabe, a spokeswoman for the supplier, declining to give more details. The company sold much of its 2.2 million shares in Honda Motor Co., its largest customer, by late April, the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported today.
Besides Honda, Takata also owned shares in Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. as of March 2015, according to the company's annual report.
Nissan, Toyota and Mazda declined to comment on Takata's shareholdings in their companies, while representatives for the other automakers didn't immediately comment.
Takata appointed an external steering committee in February to draw up a restructuring plan for the company, which is potentially facing billions of dollars in recall costs, the majority of which are being borne by automakers. The five-member group, which is negotiating with carmakers on the sharing of the recall costs, hired Lazard Ltd. to look for investors.
At least 13 deaths, including 10 in the U.S., have been linked to defective Takata airbag inflators that can deploy too forcefully, rupture and spray plastic and metal parts at drivers and passengers. The number of air bags recalled may exceed 100 million worldwide after regulators' latest demands for expansions in the U.S. and Japan.