Suzuki seeks arbitration over Volkswagen divorce
Japan's Suzuki Motor on Thursday sought arbitration with the International Chamber of Commerce over its attempt to end an alliance with Volkswagen.
"Suzuki is today commencing arbitration proceedings in London with the ICC, International Court of Arbitration, in order to compel Volkswagen AG to dispose of its Suzuki shares to Suzuki or Suzuki's designated third party," the company said in a statement.
The Japanese automaker said last week that it had ended its alliance with the German auto giant and demanded it sell back its stake in the Japanese carmaker by November 2012.
It also warned that it would seek arbitration if Volkswagen refused to sell the 112.21 million shares, or 19.89 percent of Suzuki, to the Japanese small-car maker or a third party it designates.
"The arbitration proceedings follow Suzuki's termination of its alliance... and Volkswagen AG's lack of response to Suzuki's requests for the disposition of its shares," it said.
The two firms formed a 1.7 billion euro ($2.3 billion) tie-up in 2009.
Suzuki planned to seek support from Volkswagen in hybrid technologies and other eco-friendly areas, while the German firm hoped to jointly develop small cars for emerging markets by taking advantage of Suzuki's know-how.
But they made little progress and halted their joint projects.
The Japanese automaker in September said it wanted to end the alliance, citing a deep disagreement over collaboration and complained that its partner failed to provide promised access to technologies.
Ahead of Suzuki's move towards ending the tie-up, relations had become frayed as Volkswagen served notice of an alleged infringement relating to the supply of diesel engines to Suzuki from Italian carmaker Fiat.
Volkswagen has refused to accept Suzuki's repeated demands to sell back the shares, saying it "categorically" rejected having "broken or not lived up to, in any way, the cooperation agreement".
© 2011 AFP