April 19, 2018 / 3:43 AM / a month ago

Murata to invest up to $930 mln to boost output of car components

TOKYO, April 19 (Reuters) - Japan’s Murata Manufacturing Co plans to invest between 50 billion yen and 100 billion yen ($465 million-$930 million) in the next two years to increase output of electronic components, seeking to capitalise on growing demand from the auto sector.

It will boost production of multilayer ceramic capacitors, which control the flow of electricity in electronics used in a range of products, from smartphones to vehicle controls, at four of its plants located in Japan, China and the Philippines.

Tightening global emissions regulations and the race to make self-driving cars have prompted automakers to ramp up development of electric vehicles and automated functions, creating opportunities for electronics parts makers to expand.

“We see demand from the automotive sector picking up naturally and we want to be able to also respond to those needs,” a Murata spokesman said, adding that increased capacity would also boost output for smartphone parts.

The plans for more investment by Murata was first reported by the Nikkei newspaper.

Capacitors account for roughly one-third of its revenue. It also acquired Sony Corp’s lithium ion battery operations last year to further expand into the automotive sector.

Murata, which earns about 60 percent of revenue from smartphone parts, has said that it wants auto parts to contribute 20 to 30 percent in about 10 years, from around 13 percent at the moment. ($1 = 107.3800 yen) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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