Japan's two storage battery makers, Yuasa Corporation and Japan Storage Battery Co. said on Friday that they would merge operations by setting up a joint holding company in April 2004, Dow Jones reported.

The report said the two companies would consolidate their operations on an equal footing and would swap their shares for those of the holding company.

According to Dow Jones, the companies said they aim to sustain their growth by becoming more competitive in the global market through the business consolidation.

The holding company will be named GS Yuasa Corporation, Dow Jones said, and shares of Yuasa and Japan Storage will be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Osaka Securities Exchange on March 26, 2004, before GS Yuasa is listed on April 1.

Dow Jones noted that both companies posted losses in the fiscal year ended March 31, as they were hit by falls in prices of industrial-use batteries.

Most of the two companies' major shareholders are financial institutions and their key clients include car manufacturers, Dow Jones added.

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