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No. 352, January 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


The 39 percent share that Japanese investors own in ALUMAX INC.'s primary aluminum plants in Frederick, Maryland and Ferndale, Washington has been redistributed. MITSUI & CO., LTD. bought out partner TOSTEM CORP.'s 9 percent interest for about $79 million, raising its stake to 32 percent from 23 percent. YKK CORP.'s 7 percent share remains unchanged. The deal gives Mitsui marketing rights to 161,000 tons of the 500,000 or so tons of ingot turned out annually by the two plants; before, its cut was 116,000 tons. The Japanese trio bought an initial 25 percent of the big American aluminum maker's ingot plants in 1988 and then increased their combined holding to 39 percent in early 1995.

Management and other investors in the Portland, Oregon area bought a controlling interest in OREGON METAL SLITTERS, INC. from bankrupt OKURA & CO., LTD. and one of its affiliates. The buyout cost an estimated $17.1 million. The trader had purchased an 81.2 percent interest in the distributor and processor of flat-rolled steel in 1988. Oregon Metal Slitters reportedly received bids from a number of potential buyers.

An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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