The lithium-ion battery has emerged as a pivotal force in the quest for more sustainable and efficient energy solutions, with India leading the charge due to its increasing reliance on renewable energy sources. India is at the forefront of harnessing the potential of lithium-ion technology.

The projected cumulative demand for energy storage in India by 2030 stands at 903 GWh, spread across various technologies including lithium-ion batteries, redox flow batteries, and solid-state batteries.

Due to severely lacking infrastructure across the supply chain and limited expertise in deployment, India urgently needs to enhance its control over the lithium-ion battery supply chain. As energy storage systems are set to become pivotal in global decarbonization efforts, the demand is expected to skyrocket.

The Indian market for lithium-ion batteries is anticipated to experience a remarkable growth trajectory, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50% from 20 GWh in 2022 to 220 GWh by 2030.

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Currently, Indian businesses are primarily focusing on the manufacturing of battery cells. Panasonic Energy, a dry cell manufacturer, has identified the significant potential offered by the lithium-ion battery market in India. 

The company recently initiated a joint venture to produce lithium-ion cells within the country. Moreover, its stock has shown strong performance in the past year, soaring by nearly 140%.

Panasonic Energy: Is Battery JV Set to Energize?

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Panasonic Energy Co. Ltd. of Japan have formally agreed to outline the structure for a joint venture aimed at manufacturing cylindrical lithium-ion cells in India.

This agreement comes after the initial signing of a deal between the two companies in January 2024. They are currently conducting a feasibility study on how battery technology can facilitate India’s shift towards clean energy. The goal is to finalize the specifics of their partnership by the summer of this year.

This collaboration is expected to drive demand for raw materials sourced domestically, increase domestic value addition, attract new players to the market, and foster growth in India’s battery industry, particularly in advanced cell technology.

As we delve deeper into the company, we can better understand the potential future prospects for this cell manufacturer.

Corporate Overview Of Panasonic Energy

Originally established in 1972 under the name Lakhanpal National Limited, Panasonic Energy India Co. Ltd. has grown to become one of the largest manufacturers and providers of dry cell batteries and lighting products in India.

Based in Vadodara, Gujarat, the company is affiliated with the global Panasonic Corporation, renowned for its production of audio-visual equipment, home appliances, electronic components, automotive electronics, and environmental systems.

Panasonic Energy India Co. Ltd. is a prominent supplier of various types of batteries including Zinc carbon, Alkaline, Lithium, and Rechargeable batteries, along with lighting products. 

With a robust sales network comprising two manufacturing units, advanced technology, distribution centers, numerous stockists, and a vast array of retailers spanning across India, the company has firmly established its presence in the market.

Noteworthy for its innovations, the company has pioneered Metal Jacketed Dry battery, high-performance pencil battery, Zinc-Chloride technology, and eco-friendly batteries in India.

Business Segments Of Panasonic Energy

Zinc Carbon Batteries

The portion of organized manufacturers’ share in Zinc Carbon batteries is believed to have remained consistent, experiencing only minor fluctuations. The market size for D size batteries has remained relatively unchanged compared to the previous year.

Continuing its trend from the financial year 2022-23, AA size batteries continue to hold the dominant volume share for the company. Additionally, the focus for growth remains on AAA size batteries.

Alkaline Batteries

In India, the battery industry is primarily dominated by Zinc Carbon batteries, in contrast to other regions where the Alkaline battery market holds sway. Alkaline batteries, however, represent a category that consistently exhibits an upward trend, indicating promising future growth prospects.

Although Alkaline batteries currently contribute approximately 6% to 7% of the total battery demand in India, their profitability is notably significant. Recognizing this, the Company is actively focusing its efforts on boosting sales within this category by targeting new market segments.

During the financial year 2022-23, the company experienced robust double-digit growth in revenue within the consumer channel markets. It anticipates substantial business expansion in this segment in the upcoming year and has already secured a significant volume of confirmed orders for supplies in FY 2023-24.

Rechargeable Batteries

The rechargeable battery market currently makes up approximately 1% of the total battery demand in India. This segment is largely dominated by imported, low-priced rechargeable batteries. However, the Company has managed to carve out a niche in the marketing and sales of high-quality ‘eneloop’ brand rechargeable batteries and chargers.

Both dealers and consumers recognize and value the superior quality of these rechargeable batteries. Despite the challenges posed by the dominance of imported low-cost options, the Company has maintained its position and market share in this category.

Lithium coin batteries

The usage of lithium coin batteries across various applications is experiencing a notable increase in India. Panasonic Energy offers the widest range of options in this segment to meet consumer needs, leading to a significant revenue growth of approximately 139% compared to the previous year.

Financials Of Panasonic Energy

FY2023FY2022FY2021FY2020
Revenue (in ₹crore)253.29241.52232.35203.53
Net Profit (in ₹crore)-10.649.3910.323.15
ROE-3.76%8.74%10.06%3.15%
ROCE-6.72%11.58%13.70%5.41%

In the fiscal year 2023, Panasonic Energy saw an increase in revenue, surging by 5% to reach ₹253.29 crore as opposed to ₹241.52 crore in FY2022. Analyzing a span of four years, encompassing FY2020 to FY2023, the company displayed a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20% in revenue.

Due to the increase in raw material prices and the shift in consumer spending behaviour affected the company’s bottom line in the financial year 2023. The company made a loss of ₹10.64 crore in FY2023 when compared to the profit of ₹9.39 crore in FY2022.

Future Plans Of Panasonic Energy

The industry’s business outlook is highly promising and poised for substantial growth, fueled by the rising adoption of battery-powered devices. Government policies supporting manufacturing in India, particularly in sectors like toys, electronic devices, and medical equipment, are pivotal factors driving rapid market expansion.

Moreover, alkaline batteries are anticipated to reinforce their dominance in the primary battery market, maintaining their position as the fastest-growing segment. This growth is primarily attributed to the escalating demand for primary batteries across various applications.

Over the past decade, India’s purchasing power parity per capita income has more than doubled. This, coupled with declining costs of consumer electronics and a growing population, has spurred significant growth in the country’s consumer electronics market, consequently driving the battery industry forward.

Additionally, rising income levels, urbanization, evolving lifestyles, and a greater demand for convenience are anticipated to further fuel the demand for battery-powered gadgets. 

While the battery industry holds a promising future, it must remain adaptable to changing market trends and environmental regulations in order to sustain its growth trajectory.

Conclusion

With the lithium-ion battery market in India projected to grow rapidly, Panasonic Energy’s joint venture with Indian Oil Corporation could position it as a major player. The company’s strong revenue growth, focus on innovation, and diversified product offerings bode well for its future prospects. 

However, challenges like rising raw material costs and competition from imports remain. What do you think about Panasonic Energy’s potential in India’s burgeoning battery industry? Share your thoughts on the company’s strategies and the road ahead.

Written by Nalin Suriya S

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