Japanese electronics giant Panasonic on Thursday announced plans to sell subsidiary Sanyo Electric's washing machine and refrigerator operations in Asia to China's Haier Group.
Sanyo said it had signed a memorandum of understanding to transfer its consumer and commercial use washing machine, consumer refrigerator and white goods sales business in four countries in Southeast Asia to Haier.
The rare move of a Chinese buyout of key units from a major Japanese manufacturer comes as Panasonic looks to streamline operations with Sanyo, its wholly-owned subsidiary.
The companies did not indicate the value of the deal, which is expected to be completed by March 2012.
Panasonic and Sanyo are looking to jettison overlapping businesses, with Panasonic looking to focus more environmental technology such as reachargeable batteries, solar panels and other energy-saving systems.
"Through the transfer of our washing machine and consumer refrigerator business to Haier Group, we have been able to secure the positions of the employees engaged in the businesses and ensure the continuity of the business," said Mitsuru Homma, executive vice president of Sanyo, in a statement.
Panasonic acquired a majority stake in Sanyo in December 2009, taking over one of the world's biggest suppliers of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in consumer electronics and a major player in solar panels, before turning it into a wholly owned unit in April this year.
Haier will also be allowed to use the Sanyo brand in the region for a certain period.
Haier was the world's largest refrigerator maker in 2010, controlling 13 percent of the market, while ranking second in washing machines, with a nine percent global share.
But the company has been struggling to boost its presence in Japan and Southeast Asia, where Japanese brands are strong.
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