The forklift unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. has confirmed reports that it is currently in the advanced stage of discussions with its long-time rival UniCarriers Corp. to buy the latter’s operations. The move, if successfully executed, could alter the very landscape of the heavy machinery industry. That’s also precisely why Toyota Industries Corp. is keeping close tabs on this development. The coming together of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and UniCarriers Corp. will directly challenge the current market standing of Toyota Industries Corp.
Mitsubishi’s arm, Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift Co., has already held several rounds of talks with UniCarriers and sources close to the development have said that the company is now negotiating terms with the latter’s shareholders. The company also went on to release a statement to the effect on Monday.
According to a report in the Nikkei newspaper, which discussed the details of the deal and its impact on the heavy machinery industry, the deal could cost Mitsubishi at least US$815 million. With the deal on the verge of reaching closure, it is expected that a basic agreement will be signed sometime in July 2015. This will eventually be followed by the final pact, expected to be signed by late 2015, the report said.
This takeover is poised to create the third largest manufacturer of forklift trucks in the world, said market analysts. The two companies collectively boast sales of over 400 billion yen annually. Currently, the affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp. and the Kion Group AG (Germany) are placed first and second in the forklifts market, respectively. In the financial year ended March 31, 2015, Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift reported sales of 260 billion yen. On the other hand, UniCarriers reported 175 billion yen in sales for the March 2014 financial year. UniCarriers is a venture formed jointly by Hitachi Construction Machinery and Nissan Motor Co.