TOKYO (AP) -- Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. plans to build a new lithium-ion battery plant in western Japan, a move that will triple its current output capacity to meet soaring global demand, the daily Yomiuri newspaper reported Thursday.
The Japanese consumer electronics company, which sells products under its Panasonic brand, is looking to invest more than $950 million in what would become one of the largest lithium-ion battery factories in the world, according to the Yomiuri.
Matsushita spokesman Akira Kadota said the media reports were not based on any official company announcement.
"Panasonic has been studying various possibilities on the growth strategy of the company's battery business, but nothing has been decided on it yet," Kadota said.
A new facility in Osaka would enable Matsushita to more aggressively compete with market leaders Sanyo Electric Co. and Sony Corp. amid growing demand for the rechargeable power source commonly used in mobile phones, laptop PCs and digital cameras.
The plant could begin operations as early as 2010, the Yomiuri said.