A Toyota Motor parts affiliate, Jtekt, will buy Timken's needle bearing business for JPY30bn-40bn (US$317m-$422m), according to the Nikkei business daily.

The unsourced report said the two firms would sign the contract by as early as the end of July.

Needle bearings accounted for around JPY100bn of Timken's 2008 sales total of JPY530bn, the paper said.

A company official told Reuters nothing had been decided and declined to say if the agreement had been reached.