& Tornado Alley
The companies of the Mitsubishi zaibatsu that formed the Mitsubishi keiretsu were predominantly heavy industrial companies. This gave the Mitsubishi keiretsu a product base that was weighted toward the slow-growing or declining industries. These were also the industries which were energy-intensive. This was a liability when the price of energy increased substantially in the 1970s.
The Mitsubishi group is close-knit. Of the 29 firms belonging to Mitsubishi's presidents' council, 23 are named Mitsubishi. The Mitsubishi group firms are managed relatively conservatively. The main bank for the group, Mitsubishi Bank, merged with the Bank of Tokyo, a quasi-governmental bank that was set up in the Meiji Period to handle foreign exchange transactions. The general trading company for the group is Mitsubishi Shoji, which is important enough to be part of the core of the group. The other member of the core of Mitsubishi is Mitsubishi Motors.
Source: "Fall of a Keiretsu," Business Week, March 15, 1999, p. 34.
In 1999 the 13 core businesses of the Mitsubishi Group (keiretsu) had debts totally $132 billion. We do not know the level of the assets of these businesses but it is apparently greater than the debts because they collectively have stockholder equity equal to $58 billion. This is not entirely certain because one could envision an internet company with negative net worth but a positive stock price.
Although the Mitsubishi Group companies may not be bankrupt they are individually in financial difficulties.
|Mitsubishi Motors||seeking foreigh partner|
|Mitsubishi Electric||loss of $330 million|
|Mitsubishi Chemicals||loss of more than $200 million|
|Misubishi Materials||loss of more than $200 million|
|Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi||needs $2 billion new capital|
|Mitsubishi Oil||suffering losses and will merge|
with outside firm
|Nikko Securities||sold 25% to Citicorp|
|DEBT ($BILLIONS)||PERCENT OF EQUITY HELD BY OTHER MITSUBISHI COMPANIES|
|BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI||-21.6%||$16 billion
|MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES||4.4%||$9 billion||20%||16%|
|MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC||-17.0%||$15 billion||17%||11%|
|MITSUBISHI MOTORS||-29.0%||$17 billion||55%||52%|
The keiretsu ties within the Mitsubishi Group are weakening and breaking. Members are seeking opportunities and alliance outside the keiretsu without consultation with the other members.
HOME PAGE OF Thayer Watkins