TOKYO Sanyo Electric Co 6764.T said on Friday it has started buying liquid crystal display (LCD) panels from Sharp Corp (6753.T) for use in its flat TVs sold in North America and the two firms are considering joint development of kitchen appliances.
Sanyo has bet its future on rechargeable batteries and solar cells, and is intensifying investment in these businesses amid a lackluster performance by its consumer electronics operation.
"We hope to expand our business by having a mutually complementary relationship with Sharp," said Sanyo spokeswoman Yuko Hosaka. "Sharp's strength in LCD is part of that."
Sanyo said it started procuring LCDs from Sharp in April, and would also continue procurement from other suppliers.
Sanyo sold about a million LCD TVs in North America in the business year that ended on March 31.
Sharp, the world's third-largest LCD TV maker behind Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS) and Sony, has been trying to secure a stable source of demand for its LCD panels from rival TV set makers as it aggressively invests in expanding output.
It is planning to spend 380 billion yen ($3.65 billion) to build a new LCD plant in Japan, scheduled to start production by March 2010.
Sony Corp (6758.T), Toshiba Corp (6502.T) and Pioneer Corp (6773.T) have said they plan to buy LCD panels from Sharp.
Sanyo announced on Thursday that it had returned to the black for the first time in four years, helped by robust sales of rechargeable batteries and digital cameras, and said profit would jump this year on the sale of its cellphone unit.
But its traditional home electronics business, including cooking appliance and refrigerators, remained in the red.
By early afternoon trade, Sanyo shares were flat at 273 yen and Sharp was up 2.6 percent at 1,875 yen. The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 was up 0.8 percent.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne and Taiga Uranaka, Editing by Michael Watson)