Panasonic to recall 43,000 PC batteries after three catch fire

Reuters
A man walks near a logo of Panasonic Corp at an electronics store in Tokyo
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A man walks near a logo of Panasonic Corp at an electronics store in Tokyo April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Panasonic Corp will recall 43,140 battery packs used in notebook computers after three incidents of the batteries overheating and catching fire, the company said on Wednesday.

The Japanese electronics conglomerate said it will replace the batteries free of charge after identifying a problem in the manufacturing process between April and July of 2011.

Two of the incidents occurred in Japan and another in Thailand, the company said in a statement. No one was injured, it said.

Panasonic has been restructuring its business to shift its focus from volatile consumer markets to more reliably profitable industrial products, such as car batteries.

It is the prime supplier of lithium batteries to electric automaker Tesla Motors Inc, and said last week that it expects to become the sole manufacturer in Tesla's planned multibillion-dollar U.S. battery factory.

Tesla uses a similar type of cell used by notebook computers, but a Panasonic representative said the batteries involved in the recall were different from those that it supplies to Tesla and so there was no impact on the automaker.

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Reiji Murai; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Matt Driskill)

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