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Battery, Chip-Wafer Markets Among Most Hurt by Quake, Daiwa Says

Global supply of lithium-ion batteries, substrates for chips and power-supply capacitors may be the worst-hit technology industries following last week’s earthquake in Japan, Daiwa Securities Group Inc. said.

Closure of plants at Hitachi Chemical Co., which makes materials used in lithium-ion cells, Sanyo Electric Co. and Sony Corp. will affect the supply of rechargeable batteries, Pranab Kumar Sarmah, Hong Kong-based analyst at Daiwa Securities, said in a report yesterday.

Japan makes almost 40 percent of the world’s electronics and audio-visual components, according to Daiwa. Production has been suspended at some factories in northern Japan because of the damage caused by the 9.0 magnitude quake and ensuing tsunami. It could take one to three months for output to recover fully, the report said.

“We believe the impact on the electronics supply chain will be substantial,” Sarmah said in the report.

The global semiconductor industry is likely to be affected if Hitachi Chemical and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. suspend their factories for more than two weeks, the report said. Nippon Chemi-Con Corp.’s halting of aluminum-capacitor production may disrupt power-supply manufacturing, it said.

Tokyo-based Hitachi Chemical said yesterday some of its factories are located within the evacuation zone of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. The company is preparing to resume operations at factories located in Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures, though the shortage of water and power may cause delays, it said in a statement.

Sony has said it’s halting operations at eight factories, including those making lithium-ion batteries. Panasonic Corp., which controls Sanyo, is suspending operations at some of its plants located north of Tokyo.

Mitsubishi Gas, which produces chemicals, reported on March 14 it suffered damage to its factories. Nippon Chemi-Con is suspending some operations at its factories because of difficulties in transportation, the company said yesterday.

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