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Akebono Brake to shed 6 plants in US, Europe and Japan

Turnaround plan will cut 3,000 jobs as the company seeks debt forgiveness

Akebono's U.S. operations deteriorated after it failed to secure an order for GM's new model.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Ailing Japanese auto parts supplier Akebono Brake Industry will shut down or sell six factories and eliminate about 3,000 jobs, or 30% of its global staff, under a restructuring plan presented to creditors.

The company, which is set to receive a 20 billion yen ($185 million) bailout from a Japanese rescue fund, will also see its three top executives exit in the fall as it seeks to put together a viable turnaround plan that includes debt forgiveness from lenders.

Of the18 factories it operates globally, Akebono intends to shutter three of its four facilities in the U.S. in a two-step process. Two locations will be closed next year, followed by another a few years later.

In Europe, the brake supplier will either sell or shut down its facilities in France and Slovakia, while closing the doors of its research-and-development centers in Germany and the U.K., meaning a complete withdrawal from manufacture and R&D in Europe. Some sales operations will remain there.

One factory in be shut down in Japan.

Akebono's three representative directors, including Chairman, President and CEO Hisataka Nobumoto, will step down after its shareholders vote Sept. 27 on its plans to issue preferred shares to bailout provider Japan Industrial Solutions. The fund is to send two directors to the company.

Akebono, which controls a 20% share worldwide in automotive brake pads, was burned by its expansion plan in North America, where it lost orders for General Motors' latest vehicle models. The Japanese company filed in January for an out-of-court workout plan and has been discussing its restructuring plan with creditors. It announced last week that it will issue preferred shares to Japan Industrial Solutions in exchange for the capital injection.

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