Shares of Sanyo Electric Co., the world’s largest maker of rechargeable batteries, fell to a 31- year low after 1.3 million of its cells used in mobile phones were recalled on concern they overheat and rupture. The lithium-ion batteries, made by a unit of Osaka-based Sanyo, are used in Mitsubishi Electric Corp. handsets on NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s high-speed service. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. confirmed it found six cases of burst batteries used in its Panasonic phones, responding to a Yomiuri newspaper report [see Japan Times in English]. Matsushita spokesman Junji Kanegawa said Sanyo wasn’t the battery maker, declining to name the manufacturer.
KDDI Corp., DoCoMo’s biggest rival, today said it sells handsets with batteries made by Sanyo on a different factory line from the cells recalled yesterday. “Our batteries are absolutely safe,” said KDDI spokesman Satoru Ito. He said the company has had no reports of problems with batteries in cell phones it sells. Softbank Corp., which controls Japan’s third-biggest wireless company, also reported it had no problems with batteries.
Sanyo GS Soft Energy Co., the manufacturer of the battery, is 51 percent owned by Sanyo and the rest by an affiliate of Kyoto-based battery-maker GS Yuasa Corp. Shares of Sanyo, which was bailed out by creditors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. this year, fell to 159 yen in Tokyo, the lowest since Sept. 12, 1975. Continue >>