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Battery Maker Now a Toyota Subsidiary

Nikkei. Toyota Motor has increased its equity stake in Panasonic EV Energy from 40% to 60% by buying ¥1 billion (US$8.8 million) worth of new shares issued by Panasonic EV. The joint venture with the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. group now becomes a Toyota subsidiary.

Panasonic EV is the supplier of the NiMH battery packs for Toyota’s hybrids, as well as for Honda Civic and Insight hybrids.

Toyota hopes to accelerate development work and boost production capacity for battery packs amid growing global competition for hybrid models. Established in 1996, Panasonic EV is preparing to build a new factory in Kosai, Shizuoka Prefecture.



Only $8.8 million !!! That makes Panasonic EV worth only $44 million. Maybe some figures need revision.


Well, maybe not, although that might seem counterintuitive given the importance of the battery packs in hybrids.

To provide some sizing reference points...when Johnson Controls bought Varta Automotive Batteries outright in 2002, it paid $320 million for a company with a wide product line and $581 million in sales (and some exposure to the hybrid vehicle market). That offer bettered an earlier bid from Rayovac for $262 million.

By contrast, Panasonic EV is a privately held venture between Toyota and Matsushita group dedicated just to the production of EV batteries. There is no public market for the stock. So $44 million may not be that out of line, considering both companies are probably still plowing money into the venture. A lot depends, I suspect, on the original funding relationship between Toyota and Matsushita.

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