The Japanese conglomerate, which owns a $ 5 billion battery-making joint venture with Tesla in Nevada, said the sale would not affect its partnership with the U.S. electric vehicle maker.
But the move comes after Panasonic has made it clear it wants to reduce its heavy reliance on Tesla and supply batteries to other automakers as the industry turns to electric vehicles to reduce its carbon footprint. .
The Japanese group acquired 1.4 million Tesla shares at $ 21.15 each in 2010 for around $ 30 million. In March of last year, he held shares worth 80.9 billion yen, but that stake was reduced to zero at the end of March, according to a file released on Friday. In those 12 months, Tesla’s stock has more than six-fold. It closed at $ 679.82 on Thursday.
“The goal is to review strategically held stocks in accordance with corporate governance guidelines,” the company said in an emailed statement. “This does not affect the partnership with Tesla and we continue to have a good relationship. “
Since the 2010 investment, Elon Musk has transformed Tesla from a cash-strapped, loss-making startup into the world’s most valuable automaker worth $ 655 billion, nearly 23 times more than the Panasonic’s market value even after the stock closed 4.9% on Friday.
While Panasonic was once Tesla’s sole battery supplier, the US group began to develop its own batteries and strengthen its purchasing partners with South Korean LG Chem and Chinese CATL to support growing sales of its vehicles. .
For Panasonic, its investment of more than $ 2 billion in the battery-manufacturing joint venture has finally started to pay off, as the Japanese group made its first annual profit from Tesla’s battery business for the fiscal year. ended in March.
But the Japanese conglomerate has increased its investments in other areas to strengthen its position in software. In April, he announced a $ 7.1 billion deal to buy US supply chain specialist Blue Yonder.
In an interview in March, Panasonic chairman Kazuhiro Tsuga told the Financial Times that the group’s partnership with Tesla was entering “a different phase.”
“At some point we have to get out of our one-legged approach of relying only on Tesla,” Tsuga said. “We need to keep an eye on the supply from manufacturers other than Tesla. “