TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares in the Japanese affiliate of McDonald’s Corp briefly fell as much as 10% on Wednesday after the U.S. fast-food giant <MCD.N> said it would cut its stake in its only publicly listed overseas unit to bolster finances hit by the coronavirus.

Shares in McDonald’s Holding Company Japan <2702.T> were down 8% at 5,230 yen by midday in Tokyo, after the U.S. company said overnight it would cut its stake in the Japanese unit to 35% from nearly 50%.

The sale comes as the Japanese affiliate has proven more resilient than other fast-food restaurants in the country thanks to its popular take-out and delivery service, even as it has also been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese business has a market capitalization of roughly $7 billion and expects to post a full-year net profit of around 18.2 billion yen ($173 million), up 7.8 percent from last year.

McDonald’s Corp on Tuesday also announced a drop in global same-store sales and weaker-than-expected earnings.

The U.S. company had briefly considered cutting its stake in the Japanese business a few years ago after a series of food scandals, but later shelved the plans.

McDonald’s Holding Company Japan said it did not expect a major impact on its business from the sale.

“Even after selling part of their stake, they will continue to support us … as shareholders with a stake of over 35%,” it said in a statement.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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