(Adds Samsung statement)
JERUSALEM, June 23 (Reuters) - Scailex Corp, which imports Samsung products in Israel, said on Monday it had been experiencing problems with batteries of the popular Galaxy S4 cellular phone.
Scailex said it was making the announcement after local media reported about malfunctioning batteries, and upon request of the Israel Securities Authority.
Israel's top-selling Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that thousands of the batteries in Israel had a problem with swelling, and that at least 20 batteries had burst into flames.
"Starting in the third quarter of 2013, we began to receive indications of problems," Scailex said in a statement to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. "The company was in constant and intensive contact with Samsung on the issue of these problems, and in February 2014 started an independent examination."
The examination, it said, was ongoing. Samsung said in response that it maintained strict quality controls.
"The swollen batteries have never been determined as the cause of burning cases," the company said in a statement to Reuters.
"However, to ensure a seamless experience for our customers, Samsung has been providing replacements for the swollen batteries free of charge, regardless of the warranty period since October 2013."
Scailex did not list specific problems it had encountered, but said it passed on to Samsung the details it had collected and in return requested clarifications.