US retail giant Wal-Mart is to take majority control of its Japanese affiliate Seiyu in a deal that will also see Seiyu’s main bank Mizuho Corporate Bank inject funds by buying new shares in the struggling Japanese retailer.

Wal-Mart will invest up to ¥67.5bn (US$592m) in Seiyu as part of the combined ¥115bn rescue package with Mizuho and possibly other investors, reported Reuters.

Through the deal Wal-Mart will raise its current 42.2% stake in Seiyu to more than 50% by the end of the year. Wal-Mart had an option to raise the stake to 50.1% by the end of 2005.

Wal-Mart also announced that John Menzer, president and CEO of Wal-Mart International, and Mike Duke, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, USA, have been promoted to vice chairman positions within the company.

Menzer will take responsibility for major functions of the US business, and Duke will take over leadership of Wal-Mart International, the company’s fastest-growing division.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Wal-Mart Stores, USA, has been named president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, USA, reporting to Menzer. Pat Curran, senior vice president and a divisional manager for Wal-Mart Stores, USA, has been promoted to executive vice president for store operations, reporting to Castro-Wright.

Lee Scott, Wal-Mart president and CEO, said the shift in responsibilities for Menzer and Duke would benefit both the US and international businesses.