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Pentax Could Seek Damages Over Battery Plant Fire

Damages could result from the cost of finding another supply of battery components for Pentax's new digital camera, as well as losses from the launch delay.

TOKYO (AP) â€” Japan's Pentax Corp. may seek monetary damages from a battery-making subsidiary of electronics giant Matsushita after a fire at a plant run by the company caused Pentax to delay the launch of a new camera, Pentax said Monday, according to a media report.
Pentax is now conducting an internal review of how much the fire had affected its business and is considering seeking damages from Matsushita Battery Industrial Co., a company spokesman told Dow Jones newswires.
The damages could stem from the cost of finding another supply of battery components for the new digital camera, the spokesman said, as well as losses from the delay in its launch, which pushed it past the lucrative holiday season.
Pentax announced last week that it would postpone the camera's launch from early November to early February because of it was unable to procure enough lithium ion batteries due to the fire at the plant.
Production at Matsushita Battery's main factory in Osaka has been completely stopped since a fire broke out Sept. 30 in one section of the plant.
The stoppage has caused a major disruption in battery supplies at parent company Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which is replacing 46 million cellular phone batteries used in Nokia Corp.'s handsets due to overheating risks.
Matsushita Battery has been trying to make up for part of the lost output by boosting production at other plants in Japan and China.
Matsushita Electric and Matsushita Battery said in a joint statement Monday they will start operating from Nov. 1 those facilities at the plant that have been inspected by the local fire department.
Matsushita Electric is the Osaka-based maker of Panasonic-brand products.
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