Suzuki ups stake in Maruti to 55 per cent: report

Suzuki Motor Corp has raised its stake in Maruti Suzuki to 55 per cent, triggering speculation about whether the Japanese firm is moving towards taking full control of the country's top carmaker, according to a report in The Economic Times.

Suzuki raised its stake in Maruti by 0.8 per cent through secondary market purchases ''very recently,'' the newspaper quoted two persons ''familiar with the matter'' as saying.

One of them, an investment banker, said Suzuki was set to increase its stake further.

Indian rules allow companies to make creeping acquisitions of up to 5 per cent a year; but any increase beyond 55 per cent will require Suzuki to make an open offer for another 20 per cent.

A spokesman for Maruti, whose website is still to reflect Suzuki's revised holding in it, declined to comment. However, a person close to the company told ET that ''any change in the stakeholding will only come up before the board at the statutory board meeting scheduled for the third week of April''.

Maruti, which sells every second car in India, has established itself as the crown jewel in Suzuki's global operations and is a rare bright spot for sales across the world. It already contributes nearly 80 per cent of Suzuki's profits, and in volumes too, it has eclipsed its parent's tally (See: Maruti overtakes parent Suzuki in output, sales)