Panasonic faces delay in Malaysian solar panel arm divestment on pandemic

10, Jun. 2020

(Photo courtesy of Panasonic)
(Photo courtesy of Panasonic)

KUALA LUMPUR, NNA – Panasonic Corp. is facing a delay in selling its Malaysian solar panel manufacturing arm to a Chinese partner due to a regulatory procedure in China and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The divestment is part of its efforts to restructure unprofitable businesses, according to Hitomi Ishikawa, a spokeswoman for the Japanese group. The electronics giant said last May it will sell Panasonic Energy Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. to GS-Solar (China) Co.

She attributed the delay to a review on an outbound cash transfer from China by the Chinese authorities.

The two groups had agreed to collaborate in solar panel business last year, planning to spin off a research and development division of Panasonic Energy Malaysia to set up a joint venture with the Chinese firm.

Panasonic produces photovoltaic module HIT, which is characterized by its proprietary heterojunction structure combining amorphous and monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic cell layers.

GS-Solar, based in Quanzhou in the southern coastal province of Fujian, manufactures heterojunction photovoltaic modules, according to Panasonic.

Even after the divestment, Panasonic intends to source and sell solar panel modules from the Malaysian factory, shifting to focus on its energy solution business such as home energy management systems.

Panasonic Energy Malaysia, which began production in 2012 in Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the northern state of Kedah, makes wafers, cells and modules at a plant with an equivalent output capacity of 300,000 kilowatts per year, according to the Japanese group.