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Business deals

Pentel hesitant to write new chapter with Kokuyo

Japanese pen maker unhappy that peer took big stake without its consent

Pentel Hybrid Dual Metallic gel pens. (Photo courtesy of Pentel)

TOKYO -- Japanese pen maker Pentel has brushed off Kokuyo's overtures for collaboration, alarmed that its independence could be threatened by the stationery company that became its top shareholder this month.

Kokuyo spent 10.1 billion yen ($92.2 million) on May 10 to buy into a fund under Mercuria Investment that took over shares from Pentel's founding family last year. Kokuyo now indirectly controls 37% of Pentel.

Pentel has taken issue with Kokuyo's gaining the stake without its consent and wants to discuss how the acquisition came about. It so far has not responded to Kokuyo's request to discuss business collaboration, seeking to protect its independence by first obtaining assurances that Kokuyo will not increase its holdings any further.

Having focused on the domestic market, Kokuyo is drawn to Pentel sales channels built over years of overseas expansion. 

The unlisted Pentel generated consolidated sales of 40.9 billion yen for the year ended March 2018. It introduced the world's first modern mechanical pencil in 1960. Kokuyo reported net sales of 315.1 billion yen for 2018 and sees significant synergies in integrating operations with the pencil maker.

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