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Battery shortage threatens top laptop makers

Posted: 28 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:global battery shortage? PC shipments?

Taiwan PC maker Asustek Computer said that a global shortage of batteries for laptop PCs could affect up to 40 percent of its Q2 PC shipments.

In a report from the Reuters, Asustek VP Kevin Lin, attributed some of the shortage to Korean battery suppliers. He declined to elaborate about the potential impact on the company. The impact on shipments, said Lin, "looks like a short-term issue."

On March 3, a fire at LG Chem halted the Ochang plant in South Korea, but the company said it expected the factory to start production again in two to three months. LG Chem is a major supplier for Asustek's batteries and also sells to U.S. clients like Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

"Battery supply was already very tight in Q1, and after the fire, everyone started to buy from Sony and Panasonic," Daniel Chang, a Macquarie Securities analyst, said in the report. Chang said the battery shortage problem, partly caused by the fire, could trim shipments for major laptop PC makers in Q2 "at a 10-15 percent gap."

In a separate Reuters report, Dell concurred that the PC industry is under a shortage of laptop batteries but said the company is working with other suppliers to limit price increases.

Dell also said in the report that prices of its batteries sold separately to be used as replacements or for surplus power had gone up because of the shortage.

A Dell spokesperson declined to say what percentage of total Dell sales was attributable to separately sold battery packs, but said the amount was likely to be minimal.

As for HP, the company announced it is in "regular communication" with LG Chem about the battery situation. The situation's impact to HP and other computer makers was "still being determined," said the HP spokesperson in the Reutersreport.





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