Panasonic to develop India operations into export hub

Firm to focus on enhancing output, integrating new technology, product diversification, and mergers and acquisitions to foray into new segments 

Updated - February 11, 2024 09:25 am IST

Published - February 11, 2024 06:00 am IST - Hyderabad

Kiyoshi Otaki, Executive VP, Panasonic Corporation and President, Electric Works Company  

Kiyoshi Otaki, Executive VP, Panasonic Corporation and President, Electric Works Company   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

India as a market and manufacturing site remains a top priority in the global expansion strategy for Panasonic Electric Works Company of Japan.

The company plans to enhance production capabilities by leveraging surplus facilities at Sri City factory in Andhra Pradesh, said Ryo Matsumoto, General Manager, Living Energy Business Division, Electric Works Company, Panasonic Corporation.

“Our strategic investment roadmap includes 100 billion yen (about ₹7,000 crore) allocation for global electrical and equipment business growth by fiscal 2030, excluding Japan. Of this 30 billion yen (about ₹2,100 crore) is earmarked for investment by fiscal 2024,” he replied on email following a company conducted media tour of some facilities in Japan recently.

While he said specific investments for countries are not disclosed, he said India remains a top priority in the company’s global expansion strategy. The investment in the country over the next 5-10 years will focus on capacity expansion, integrating new technologies and reinforcing the company’s market position.

Remarkable growth

Executive VP, Panasonic Corporation and President of Electric Works Company Kiyoshi Otaki speaking at a media briefing said, “among our priorities, India holds a special place as the world’s most populous country with remarkable economic growth. We aspire to expand operations... in future, we will actively pursue exports and investments from India to Africa.”

Panasonic Electric Works is one of the four business domains of Panasonic Corporation and its electrical construction materials business reported net sales was 1 trillion yen (est. ₹62,500 crore) in FY-2022.

Beyond acquisition

In India, Panasonic had acquired Anchor Electricals in 2007. Following this, significant investments were directed towards manufacturing facilities, said Toshinobu Kawasaki, Joint MD of PEWIN, Panasonic Life Solutions India.

“We have upgraded and expanded the plants in Daman, Haridwar and Kutch and established a new manufacturing hub in Sri City to strengthen production capabilities across India... (we are) committed to further investments in the existing facilities to enhance operational efficiency and output. Our strategy includes actively exploring mergers and acquisitions to expand into new business segments and increase capacities,” he replied to a query over mail. Panasonic Electric Works India is a business unit of Panasonic Life Solution India and in FY-22 posted net sales, in the country, of 83 billion yen (est. ₹5,180 crore).

For PEWIN, which aims to triple sales volume by FY30 through a combination of strategies from enhancing businesses in electrical devices to making India a hub for global expansion, the Sri City facility is a pivotal production centre for power products. “We have a production capacity of 120 million units at Sri City... (we) want to scale this to 300 million units by FY30. Our immediate plan is to maximize the plant’s potential as there is space available to expand. While there are no immediate plans for new plants, we are exploring the possibility of broadening our product range, including development of commercial products like wires and electric circuits,” said Kentaro Kobayashi, VP Manufacturing, PEWIN.

Overall, the wiring device business unit intends to bolster its manufacturing capabilities from 620 million pieces per year in FY23 to 1,000 million pieces per year in FY30.

Emerging hub

On land availability for expansion at older units – other than Sri City - he said “for the three plants [in Haridwar, Daman and Kutch] where expansion space is limited we are intensifying efforts to enhance productivity per unit area. This will involve advancing automation and improving production efficiency. While the Daman plant currently plays a significant role in export production, we are considering shifting some of these export-focused activities to the Sri City plant, aligning with our goal to establish India as a pivotal export hub.”

“Currently, exports constitute 2% of our total business... by 2030, we aim to increase our export business to account for 10% of our total operations,” said Mr. Kawasaki. The focus is on expanding and diversifying the product range to meet the evolving market demands, both domestically and internationally. “Our strategy involves not only enhancing our existing product categories but also venturing into new ones. Leveraging Panasonic’s global technologies, a variety of innovative products have been introduced such as solar solutions, EV chargers, smart meters, fire alarm systems, building management systems and water heaters. Additionally, we are tailoring our export product range to comply with the specific regulations of each target country’s market,” he said.

The approach also aligns with government of India’s ‘Make in India’ emphasis. “To elevate India as a global manufacturing hub, it’s crucial to evolve beyond mere assembly. We believe the next step involves local manufacturing of core components for various products and businesses such as solar cells, LED Lights, and electronic components,” Mr. Kawasaki said.

(The correspondent was in Japan at the invitation of the company)

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