OSAKA -- Murata Manufacturing plans to invest between 20 billion yen and 30 billion yen ($180 million to $270 million) in lithium-ion-battery operations, responding to demand for higher safety due to Samsung Electronics' fire-prone smartphones.
The planned purchase of Sony's battery business, which produces electrolyte smartphone batteries that do not ignite easily, will close by July. The investment will be geared toward increasing production capacity at Sony facilities. Lines will be expanded at Sony's Fukushima factory in northern Japan and its Wuxi factory near Shanghai, lifting capacity 10-20%. Output of batteries for electric bikes and tools will also be stepped up.
Seeking to turn batteries into a core business, the Japanese manufacturer will continue to make comparable capital investments. Plans call for the segment to turn an operating profit in fiscal 2018.
Combined capital investment in other areas will be held steady at the fiscal 2016 level of 160 billion yen. The funds will go toward developing ceramic capacitors and other products.