Panasonic seeks expansion in auto industry image

Japanese battery manufacturer Panasonic Corporation is in talks with automotive parts makers for possible acquisitions or alliances as it seeks to expand the components it delivers to vehicle manufacturers.

The supplier of lithium-ion batteries for Toyota Motor Corp. and Tesla Motors Inc. is interested in companies that make front and rear car components and have a strong safety record, Yoshihiko Yamada, the head of Panasonic’s automotive and industrial systems unit, said in an interview today.

Panasonic plans to double revenue to 2 trillion yen ($19 billion) from automobile-related products such as drive-control systems by March 2019, as part of President Kazuhiro Tsuga’s plan to cut reliance on televisions and other consumer electronics. Panasonic, which has announced six deals this year worth about $473 million, will seek partnerships or deals to accelerate growth in technologies such as automatic parking, Yamada said.

“It’s hard to enter a new area without a track record and it’s hard for our system to get adopted without making the device that can contain the system,” Yamada said during an interview in Osaka. “That’s among our weaknesses.”

Panasonic makes cameras and sensors that can be used in an automated parking system, according to Yamada. “They can be added to the front or rear bumper, but we don’t make bumpers.” Still, the executive declined to identify companies that are in talks with Panasonic.

Yamada’s automotive and industrial systems unit, which also makes devices for industries other than carmakers, was the biggest contributor to profit and revenue among Panasonic’s four main divisions in the six months ended Sept. 30. The unit generated 1.36 trillion yen in sales during the period, about 37 % of the company’s total revenue.

Via Bloomberg