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2008年11月11日 (火)

三洋の子会社化

2008/11/11--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 8(IHT/Asahi: November 11,2008)

EDITORIAL: Panasonic-Sanyo deal

三洋の子会社化―エコの時代へ攻めの再編


Panasonic Corp. and struggling Sanyo Electric Co. announced Friday they will enter into capital and business tie-up talks that would bring the two domestic electronics makers under the same corporate roof. This strategic move, the first such postwar deal in the electronics industry, is intended to help the companies weather the current harsh economic climate.

 パナソニックが三洋電機を子会社化することを発表した。国内の大手電機メーカー同士の本格再編は戦後初めてだ。日本経済が直面している苦境を乗り切る挑戦といえるだろう。 

What is most notable about Panasonic's acquisition of Sanyo is that it represents a response to the biggest challenge facing mankind: stemming global warming.

 なによりも目を引くのは、地球温暖化を抑えるという21世紀最大の課題をにらんだ再編であることだ。 

Sanyo virtually pioneered the development of solar batteries. It now ranks seventh in the world in terms of production with a 4.4-percent global market share. Panasonic has pulled out of this area. But solar batteries are attracting growing attention as a promising energy source for the post-oil era. The world market is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. Panasonic plans to invest heavily to accelerate development of new solar-battery technologies.

 三洋は太陽電池の開発に早くから取り組み、世界トップ級の技術水準にある。生産量でも世界7位、4.4%のシェアがあるが、パナソニックはこの分野から撤退している。これは脱石油時代の有望な技術として市場拡大が見込まれており、パナソニックの資金力で開発を加速させるという。 

Sanyo is also the world's top maker of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries with a global market share of nearly 40 percent. Sanyo and Panasonic combined control about half of the world's market. In addition to products for cellphones and other portable equipment, Sanyo is now developing lithium-ion batteries for automobiles. A combination of Sanyo's lithium-ion battery technology and Panasonic's fuel cell expertise could offer highly eco-friendly car engines in the future. Clearly, Panasonic's acquisition of Sanyo makes good strategic sense, taking into account moves by automakers to develop cleaner cars.

 充電式のリチウムイオン電池も三洋はシェア4割近くで世界1位。パナソニックと合わせると5割ほどになる。 

 三洋は、この電池を携帯機器向けにつくるだけでなく、自動車用にも手を広げつつある。パナソニックが手がける燃料電池と組み合わせればエコカーに生かせる。自動車分野での環境戦略にとっても有利な再編といえる。 

Cutting-edge battery technologies are considered crucial for the growth of several key next-generation industries. And they will create a spillover effect on a wide range of other industries. Panasonic's move is likely to give a big jolt to its competitors.

 いずれも次代の産業を引っ張る分野とみられており、他産業への波及効果も大きい。競争相手のメーカーを大いに刺激することだろう。 

Sanyo's three leading shareholders--Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.--played a key role in engineering the deal.

 今回の再編では、三洋の大株主である三井住友銀行、大和証券SMBC、米ゴールドマン・サックスの金融3社の役割が大きかった。 

These three financial institutions provided 300 billion yen of fresh capital to support a turnaround of Sanyo, which is highly competitive on several fronts but fell into trouble due to poor management. The three shareholders first put pressure on Sanyo to discard its diversification-oriented strategy and sell off unprofitable businesses to focus on strategically important areas like the solar-battery business. Then, they sought out a partner that can make good strategic use of Sanyo's competitive technologies and arranged a marriage between the two companies.

 これら3社は、得意技をもちながらも経営のまずさで行き詰まった三洋に、3千億円の資本を注入して再建を模索してきた。まず、多角化路線を転換させ、不採算事業を売却して太陽電池などの戦略部門に絞り込ませた。そのうえで、それを生かせる相方を探して縁組を成功させたのである。 

 Investment banks, the epicenter of the financial earthquake that has rocked the world, are now under fire. But their primary role as behind-the-scenes promoters of industry consolidation will become increasingly important in this era of great changes in the global industrial landscape. The way the Panasonic-Sanyo deal has been sealed offers a good example of how investment banks can play a positive role for changes demanded by the times. Financial institutions now need to engage in serious soul-searching about how they got absorbed in playing money games that had no connection to the real economy.

投資銀行は金融危機の震源となり、批判にさらされている。しかし、黒衣として産業の再編を促す本来の役回りは、産業の転換期を迎えてむしろ大切になる。今回は、そのよい例かもしれない。反省すべきは、実体経済から遊離してマネーゲームにのめりこんだことだろう。

Another noteworthy fact about the acquisition is that it directly benefits from the current financial crisis, which is generating considerable headwind for domestic industries. While the steep decline of stock prices in recent weeks has had a negative effect on the overall economy, it has also created new opportunities for moves toward industry consolidation by lowering the costs of buying companies. If Panasonic's strategic acquisition model, which takes advantage of the current crisis, is followed by other companies, it could help get the economy back on track.

もうひとつ注目したいのは、この再編が金融危機という逆風を追い風にしていることだ。株価の急落は経済にとってマイナスだが、企業の買収価格を引き下げ、再編の機会も同時にもたらす。ピンチをチャンスに変えるこうした動きが続けば、苦境脱出の足がかりになるかもしれない。

However, there is no guarantee that Panasonic will be able to transform Sanyo without cutting jobs at Sanyo. This will be a tough challenge since Sanyo still has many money-losing operations. We hope Panasonic will do its utmost to minimize job losses.

 とはいえ、三洋の雇用を守りつつ再建できるのか。不採算事業がまだ多く、たやすくはない。パナソニックには踏ん張ってもらいたいところだ。 

Many Japanese electronics companies remain wedded to the old-fashioned business model of "comprehensive manufacturing" operating in a wide range of areas. As the industry consolidates further, companies need to pursue a strategy to concentrate on selected areas to develop next-generation products and technologies that make them truly competitive.

 日本の電機メーカーは、全分野を志向する百貨店型がまだまだ目立つ。再編はこれからも進みそうだが、次代を担う得意技を伸ばすような選択と集中を心がけてほしい。 

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