Reports: Sanyo betting on growth in solar cells, batteries

November 19, 2007 – Sanyo Electric Co.’s is looking to solar cells and rechargeable batteries (e.g., lithium ion) to power its growth starting in fiscal 2008, according to similar reports in the Nikkei and Yomiuri papers.

The new plan, the first by new president Seiichiro Sano, lays out spending of 100B yen (US ~$905M) over three years to ramp output of products for notebooks and computers, including production of next-generation lithium batteries for hybrid cars, notes the Nikkei. Sales of rechargeable batteries are targeted to rise 50% next year to exceed 450B yen ($4.07B). Meanwhile, Sanyo aims to double solar cell sales to 120B yen, partly with a previously-announced 230% jump in production capacity to 600MW, spending another 100B yen on the expansion and to procure silicon supplies, the paper notes.

The Yomiuri, which adds that Sanyo is only spending 37B yen (~$335B) on both businesses in the current fiscal year, is even more bullish in its predictions for Sanyo’s solar cell business, saying that instead of a previously planned ramp to 600MW, the firm will double that to 1200MW/year through fiscal 2010.

While focusing investments in solar cells and batteries, Sanyo will accelerate cutbacks and entire exits from other less profitable units, the Nikkei reports. In its “white goods” division, for instance, the company will lower domestic sales of fridges and air conditioners, to focus on other appliances including washer-dryers, vacuum cleaners, rice cookers, and other gear. The company’s Tottori subsidiary will become the core electronic appliance firm, with a special entity to be formed next spring to expand overseas sales. Sanyo also recently gave up trying to sell its semiconductor business, and instead will inject 20B yen (~$181M) mainly to overhaul equipment, the paper noted.


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