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Panasonic Aims to Triple Rechargeable Battery Sales by 2016

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Panasonic Aims to Triple Rechargeable Battery Sales by 2016 Empty Panasonic Aims to Triple Rechargeable Battery Sales by 2016

Post  westvlane on Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:39 pm

Panasonic Corp., the world’s biggest maker of rechargeable batteries , aims to triple sales of lithium-ion units by March 2016 to meet rising demand from carmakers, an executive said in an interview.

The company is in talks with about 20 automakers in the U.S., Europe, China, India and other nations to supply batteries, Naoto Noguchi, president of Panasonic’s battery unit, said in Osaka yesterday. Demand for electric cars will help Panasonic raise sales of lithium-ion units to 1 trillion yen ($12 billion) in the year ending March 2016, from about 324 billion yen in the last fiscal year, he said.

Panasonic last week announced plans to take full control of two units for more than $9 billion to expend its renewable energy business. The battery-maker is accelerating development of new products and increasing marketing staff to face a rising challenge from South Korean rivals including Samsung Group, Noguchi said.

“We’ll speed up management decisions,” Noguchi said. “In batteries we are still ahead of South Korean makers, but they are chasing us fast.”

The company estimates the global lithium-ion battery market will increase to 2.5 trillion yen from 926 billion yen in the year ended March 31, as companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. start to sell more cars powered by electricity.

Panasonic has offered to buy out Sanyo Electric Co. and Panasonic Electric Works Co., units which it owns 50 percent and 51 percent respectively, for about 818 billion yen.

Shares Fall

Panasonic fell 1.2 percent to close at 1,120 yen in Tokyo yesterday, extending its loss this year to 15 percent. Sanyo lost 0.7 percent to 136 yen and is down 20 percent this year. Electric Works dropped 0.1 percent to 1,099 yen and has declined 2.1 percent in 2010. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average has retreated 8.1 percent in the period.

The offer for Sanyo and Electric Works will build on President Fumio Ohtsubo’s plans to expand businesses such as renewable energy as the company faces mounting competition from Samsung Electronics Co. and Sony Corp. in televisions.

Panasonic plans to merge the three companies’ brands, though Sanyo’s name may continue to be used in some regions. The three companies will combine, trim their operations, and start business as a new entity in January 2012, Panasonic said.

Market Share

The company aims to win at least 40 percent of the global lithium-ion battery market in the year ending March 2016, up from a combined share with Sanyo of an estimated 35 percent last fiscal year, Noguchi said.

Toyota and Tesla Motors Inc. last month agreed to start developing an electric version of the RAV4 compact sport-utility vehicle to go on sale in 2012.

Tesla and Panasonic agreed to develop next-generation battery cells for electric vehicles, the carmaker said on Jan. 7. Tesla also said it will use Panasonic’s nickel-based lithium- ion batteries for its cars.

Carmakers are under pressure in the U.S. and other markets to develop models that consume little or no petroleum and produce fewer emissions linked to global warming.

Toyota also plans to start selling two-passenger electric cars by 2012.

From: Businessweek

westvlane

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