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Say sayonara to Sanyo Semiconductor

23 September 2007 | By Mark Osborne | Editor's Blog

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If news stories coming out of Japan are correct, then Sanyo is selling its semiconductor division to a Japanese private equity firm, Advantage Partners, for something close to ¥100 billion.

Apparently, the deal is expected to be sealed in October this year. Ironically, it was exactly two years ago when I blogged about the financial mess the company had gotten itself into (

This was highlighted by the fact that the company had forgotten to renew its insurance cover on one of its fabs that had been badly damaged in an earthquake, preventing it from starting production again!

I commented back then that the company needed a serious management shake-up, which it eventually undertook, and it also started to offload non-core businesses, which it has slowly done.

It comes as no surprise, then, that the semiconductor division could have been up for grabs, but that possibility has taken the company two years to figure out!

As has been typical of many Japanese corporations, actually making decisions on difficult issues has tended to be a weakness in business.

It is not all bad at Sanyo however, as the photovoltaic business is red hot and should be for many years to come. But my guess is that even in this growing market Sanyo will be competing with Taiwanese and Chinese low-cost providers in the next few years, and they may not, once again, react quickly enough to retain market share.

I will keep you posted on that one in about…two years come October, perhaps!

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