TOKYO, Japan – Last weekend electronics giant Panasonic Corp. announced the acquisition of one its larger Japanese counterparts, Sanyo Electric Co. Panasonic has gained a 70.5% stake in Sanyo, paying 800 billion Yen (€ 6.4 billion).
The main reason for this take over is Sanyo’s know-how in ‘green energy’ like lithium-ion batteries, solar cells and fuel cells. Sanyo, which started off making bicycle lamps after World War II, has already for years focussed on environmental technologies including solar energy and rechargeable batteries. Currently Sanyo is a leading supplier of e-Bike components.
With the acquisition, both companies hope to team up to expand their exports in among others batteries and solar business “in which significant future growth is expected,” they said. Panasonic is currently supplying the Toyota Prius batteries but Sanyo’s (lithium-ion) battery technology is superior.
Largest lithium-ion battery manufacturer
Sanyo is currently the largest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for e-Bikes and e-Scooters as well as for notebooks and all kinds of gadgets. Beginning December the company launched the ‘Eneloop’ e-Bike which is equipped with the latest lithium-ion battery technology using energy from braking and pedalling to recharge the battery automatically. Eneloop is also the name of Sanyo’s newest battery system that combines the best of Alkaline and Rechargeable batteries.
Including Sanyo Panasonic Corp’s total revenue amounts to € 92 billion and employs about 400,000 people worldwide. Some 50% of this turn-over is generated by export and Panasonic’s main objective with Sanyo is to enlarge this share.
The Japanese home market, with 128 million inhabitants has become too small for this multinational. To reach their goal and create global brand awareness the Japanese have changed the company and brand name from Matsushita to Panasonic. In Europe the e-Bike business is handled through Sanyo Component Europe GmbH which is based in Munich, Germany.