Panasonic Q2 profit jumps more than 27 times to $950m

Photo: EPA

The Japanese electric appliances conglomerate Panasonic announced operating profits for the second quarter of 2021 which topped even the most optimistic expectations. Surging demand for car batteries drove Panasonic operating profit to exceed 27 times last year's results, Reuters elaborated. The soaring profits came on the back of economic rebound from the 2020 pandemic year.

Total profits rose to $950m, some 50% higher than market expectations at its strongest performance for a quarter since 2008.

Panasonic is a key supplier of batteries to Tesla electric cars and has moved away from low-margin consumer electronics, and now focuses on electric car batteries, industrial-use components and production machinery. Still home appliances including air conditioners and TVs have sold well this year as people spend more time at home during the pandemic.

The automotive business swung to a profit, benefiting from growing demand for electric car batteries through its decade-old, sometimes testy, partnership with Tesla. That compares with a loss in the same period a year earlier when it was forced to suspend production at its joint venture with Tesla in Nevada.

Panasonic is launching a test line in Japan to make Tesla's so-called 4680 battery cells, which the automaker claims will halve battery costs and help it ramp up battery production 100-fold by 2030.

It is adding a new production line at the Nevada factory and is looking to build a lithium-ion battery business in Europe that would supply car makers there. The Japanese firm also has a battery partnership with Toyota.

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