(Adds company comment, stock price)
TOKYO, July 17 Matsushita Electric Industrial Co
Ltd (6752.T) will invest more than 100 billion yen ($951 million)
to build a lithium-ion battery plant in Japan to meet robust
demand, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Thursday.
Matsushita would be able to roughly triple its lithium-ion
battery output capacity in what would be one of the world's
biggest lithium-ion battery factories, the paper said.
The Japanese consumer electronics maker aims to start
operating the new plant as early as 2010, the paper said.
Matsushita spokesman Akira Kadota said that the company was
considering various possibilities for the growth strategy of its
electronics business but that nothing had been decided.
Matsushita, which competes with Sanyo Electric Co Ltd
6764.T and Sony Corp (6758.T) in the rechargeable battery
industry, aims to meet growing lithium-ion battery demand as
global sales of battery-run mobile gear such as cellphones,
digital cameras and laptop PCs expand.
Demand for batteries for electric vehicles is also on the
rise as consumers increasingly opt for clean-air cars amid
skyrocketing oil prices.
Shares of Matsushita added 0.9 percent to 2,225 yen as of
0009 GMT, in line with a rise in the benchmark Nikkei average
(Reporting by Aiko Hayashi; Editing by Chris Gallagher)