Itochu Automobile America Inc. and Itochu International Inc. have together acquired an interest in Akebono Brake Corporation in a move that is expected to complement Akebonos managerial resources and increase Akebonos aftermarket distribution efficiencies. Under the transaction, the Itochu Group redeemed its 40% interest in Amak Brake L.L.C., one of Akebonos North American subsidiaries, and at the same time purchased a 20% stake in Akebono Brake Corporation. The transaction was consummated on March 31, 2007. Akebono and the Itochu Group have enjoyed a long and successful partnership in a variety of ventures, and believe that their continued alliance will further enhance their relationship and strengthen their potential for success. This transaction follows an increase in Itochus investment in Akebono Brake Corporations parent company, Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd., a publicly-traded company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, First Section. Akebono Brake Corporation is a manufacturer of advanced brake and friction material, with a focus on noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) analysis and control. The Akebono Group operates technical/R&D centers in Japan, the United States and France, with 30 wholly owned or affiliated manufacturing facilities worldwide. Akebono launched U.S. brake sales and production operations in 1980. Worldwide, Akebono employs 6,800 people, with 2,000 in North America.