Matsushita Panasonic to enter into JV for automotive batteries

Mumbai: Matsushita Panasonic Battery Co of Japan (Panasonic) plans to set up a joint venture with Base Corporation in India to produce a range of automotive batteries with an investment of Rs 100 crore.

The venture will also look at marketing other Panasonic-branded products in India, including mobile handset and camera batteries.

The investment will go towards setting up a manufacturing base in Hosur near Bangalore. While the equity distribution has not yet been finalised, sources say it will be a 50:50 venture. Matsushita Panasonic managing director Mitsuru Kurokawa says the modalities are still being worked out and the unit will be operational next year. The proposed facility will have a production capacity of 1.2 million units a year.

Says Kurokawa: "We will look at making an entire range of automotive batteries at this venture. Besides catering to the Indian market, the unit will also be the export hub to other regional markets like Nepal and Bangladesh."

Later, the firm will introduce batteries for mobile handsets and cameras. Panasonic batteries are currently imported from Matsushita''s overseas ventures and sold in the replacement market.

Base Corporation managing director Girish Arora says the joint venture will be formed very soon, after which the company will apply to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board for Japanese investment.