August 11, 2007 / 5:16 AM / 12 years ago

Sanyo Electric to sell mobile phone business: report

A third generation (3G) cellular phone by Sanyo simulates a three-way video conference call in a display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas January 9, 2002. Japanese electronics company Sanyo Electric is in talks with a domestic mobile phone maker to sell its struggling cellphone operations, public broadcaster NHK said on its Web site on Saturday. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese electronics company Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. 6764.T is in talks with a domestic mobile phone maker to sell its struggling cellphone operations, public broadcaster NHK said on its Web site on Saturday.

Sanyo has decided to sell its mobile phone business as part of its effort to improve group-wide profitability, and agreement is expected as early as by the end of the year, NHK said, without mentioning a likely buyer or sale price.

Japanese major mobile phone makers include Sony Corp. (6758.T), Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (6752.T), Sharp Corp. (6753.T), Toshiba Corp. (6502.T), NEC Corp. (6701.T), Fujitsu Ltd. (6702.T) and Casio Computer Co. Ltd.(6952.T).

Sanyo, the world’s largest rechargeable battery maker competing with Sony, last month posted a 72 percent fall in quarterly operating profit, hit by sluggish mobile phone sales and higher raw materials prices.

Sanyo now expects to sell about 11 million units of mobile phones in the current business year to March 2008, down from its initial estimates of 12.5-12.6 million.

Sanyo spokesman Akihiko Oiwa denied the NHK report, saying the company is exploring all possible measures to strengthen its mobile phone operations.

Osaka-based Sanyo posted a net loss for the past three business years, hit by sharp price falls, hefty restructuring costs and an earthquake damage to its semiconductor plant.

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