Panasonic May Double Production Capacity of LED Light Bulbs

Panasonic May Double Production Capacity LED Light Bulbs
A woman walks past an advertisement for Panasonic Corp.'s "Everleds" light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Panasonic Corp. may double its production capacity for light bulbs using light-emitting diodes within two years to tap the growing market for energy-saving devices, an executive said.

Sales of LED lamps in Japan may surge 64 percent next fiscal year, Yoshio Ito, president of Panasonic’s lighting business, said in an interview yesterday.

“We won’t be able to attain our target unless we at least double our capacity,” Ito said. Panasonic plans to boost sales of the light bulbs outside Japan as well, he said.

Japan’s largest maker of home appliances expects sales at its lighting unit will jump 43 percent to 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) by March 2013, Ito said. The Osaka-based company faces competition in the light-emitting diode market from manufacturers including Toshiba Corp. and Royal Philips Electronics NV, the world’s biggest lighting company.

Panasonic rose 0.5 percent to 1,160 yen as of 9:23 a.m. in Tokyo trading. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 0.6 percent.

Panasonic makes LED bulbs at factories in China and Indonesia and has an annual production capacity of about 6 million units, Ito said.

The company aims to win half of the market for LED lamps in Japan in the fiscal year ending March 2011, when industrywide sales may increase to 18 million units from 11 million in the current fiscal year, Ito said. Panasonic may also need to make 3 million to 4 million units for overseas sales next fiscal year, he said.

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