Toyota to invest in Japanese jet project

 

Japan’s top automaker Toyota will invest ¥7 billion (Dh246.6m) in a project to build the country’s first passenger jet in more than three decades, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation said on Wednesday.

The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, was established April 1 to build and sell the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet, or MRJ.

Initially capitalised at ¥3bn, it sought out additional investors to accelerate development and boost global marketing efforts, Mitsubishi Aircraft said in a statement.

It will sell ¥67bn of common and preferred shares through a third-party allocation on May 30, the company said.

After the share purchase, Toyota will own 10 per cent of Mitsubishi Aircraft. Other investors include trading houses Sumitomo and Mitsui & Co., both of whom will invest ¥3.5bn for a five per cent stake each.

The MRJ, a twin-engine aircraft seating about 70 to 90 people, will be made of lightweight carbon-fiber composite designed to consume about 20 per cent less fuel than comparable standard jets.

Demand for smaller jets is expected to rise over the next 20 years in regional markets.

Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways placed the first orders for the MRJ in late March, asking for 15 jets for delivery from 2013, with an option for 10 more.

The MRJ will be Japan’s first nationally funded, domestically manufactured passenger aircraft project since the YS-11, a turboprop airplane that was discontinued in 1973.

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