Panasonic Sells 90% Stake in its Malaysia Manufacturing Unit to GS Solar

The two entities are also going to work together for research and development


Panasonic Corporation, a company developing diverse electronic technologies and solutions, has announced that it has reached a collaboration and acquisition agreement with GS-Solar (China) Company Limited, a thin film solar manufacturer. The deal for an undisclosed amount is likely to conclude in November this year.

Under the agreement, GS-Solar (China) will acquire Panasonic’s solar manufacturing subsidiary, Panasonic Energy Malaysia, while establishing a new company with Panasonic. The shareholding would be 90:10 with GS-Solar holding 90% share and Panasonic owning the remaining 10%.

The board of directors of Panasonic had announced earlier about their approval to form a collaboration with GS-Solar for its PV business through a company split (simplified absorption type), to transfer its PV R&D function to a new unnamed wholly owned subsidiary.

A company statement has informed that the two companies will jointly operate and invest in this new company in Japan, focused on the research and development of HIT technology. GS-Solar (China) will integrate Panasonic’s innovations and manufacturing technologies in the field of HIT, combining these with its own competencies to drive progress.

This collaboration also enables GS-Solar (China) to help start the industrialization and large-scale expansion of next-generation heterojunction technologies on a global scale. It has been specializing in solar cell technology research and development and product manufacturing for more than ten years, with an aim towards playing a leading role in achieving grid parity.

The collaboration will also see Panasonic actively mobilize energy storage technologies, home energy management systems and emergency power storage systems, as well as other new energy resources, to help support the development of advanced heterojunction technologies and improve their product competitiveness.

This new collaboration is likely to integrate further the HEMS, PV modules, storage batteries, ECO Cute heat pump systems, and electric vehicle charging solutions of Panasonic, and expand the scope of collaboration with GS-Solar (China).

The move by Panasonic came in the wake of falling solar prices in Japan combined with less capacity addition leading to losses incurred since fiscal 2016. The move aimed to seek profitability in the business segment by early 2021 fiscal.

Although it is selling off its Malaysia unit, Panasonic will maintain its solar cell production bases in Japan and the U.S.A. The release further informed that Panasonic expects its group net profit to plummet to 200 billion yen ($1.82 billion) for the year ending March 2020, with a drop of 30%.

The company, which partners with electric-car maker Tesla on battery production, has announced restructuring costs under a three-year plan announced the same day in which it will seek to cut 100 billion yen in fixed costs by the year ending in March 2022, by withdrawing from money-losing business lines.

The company sources have also informed that the sales for the current fiscal year are forecast to decline 1% to 7.9 trillion yen while operating profit is projected to drop 27% to 300 billion yen, its first decline in three years.

In India, Panasonic has collaborated with BSES Yamuna Power Limited to set up an electric vehicle charging station at their New Delhi head office. This pilot facility was set up to study the charging behavior and pattern, real-time charging data, app-based control, and automated payment mechanism, built in compliance with Bharat EV AC 001 standards and is equipped with 10 kW power and can charge up to three electric vehicles simultaneously, Mercom had reported earlier.

Soumik is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, Soumik was a correspondent for UNI, New Delhi covering the Northeast region for seven years. He has also worked as an Asia Correspondent for Washington DC-based Hundred Reporters. He has contributed as a freelancer to several national and international digital publications with a focus on data-based investigative stories on environmental corruption, hydro power projects, energy transition and the circular economy. Soumik is an Economics graduate from Scottish Church College, Calcutta University.