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SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. (三洋電機株式会社 San'yō Denki Kabushiki-gaisha ) is a major electronics company and member of the Fortune 500 whose headquarters is located in Moriguchi, Osaka prefecture, Japan. Sanyo targets the middle of the market and has over 230 Subsidiaries and Affiliates.
On December 21, 2009, Panasonic completed a 400 billion yen ($4.5 billion) acquisition of a 50.2% stake in Sanyo, making Sanyo a subsidiary of Panasonic. In July 2010, Panasonic announced that they would acquire the remaining shares of Sanyo.
Sanyo utilizes an extensive socialization process for new employees, so that they will be acclimatized to Sanyo's corporate culture. New employees take a five-month course during which they eat together and share company-provided sleeping accommodation. They learn everything from basic job requirements to company expectations for personal grooming and the appropriate way in which to address their coworkers and superiors.
Sanyo was founded when Toshio Iue (井植 歳男 Iue Toshio, 1902–1969), the brother-in-law of Konosuke Matsushita and also a former Matsushita employee, was lent an unused Matsushita plant in 1947 and used it to make bicycle generator lamps. Sanyo was incorporated in 1950; in 1952 it made Japan's first plastic radio and in 1954 Japan's first pulsator-type washing machine. The company's name means three oceans in Japanese, referring to the founder's ambition to sell their products worldwide, across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.
Technologically Sanyo has had good ties with Sony, supporting the Betamax video format from invention until the mid 1980s (the best selling video recorder in the UK in 1983 was the Sanyo VTC5000), and later being an early adopter of the highly successful Video8 camcorder format. More recently, though, Sanyo decided against supporting Sony's format, the Blu-ray Disc, and instead gave its backing to Toshiba's HD DVD. This was ultimately unsuccessful, however, as Sony's Blu-ray triumphed.
In North America, Sanyo manufactures CDMA cellular phones exclusively for Sprint-Nextel corporation's Sprint PCS brand in the United States, and for Bell Mobility in Canada.
The 2004 Chūetsu earthquake severely damaged Sanyo's semiconductor plant and as a result Sanyo recorded a huge financial loss for that year. The 2005 fiscal year financial results saw a 205 billion yen net income loss. The same year the company announced a restructuring plan called the Sanyo Evolution Project, launching a new corporate vision to make the corporation into an environmental company, plowing investment into strong products like rechargeable batteries, solar photovoltaics, air conditioning, hybrid car batteries and key consumer electronics such as the Xacti camera, projectors and mobile phones.
Sanyo posted signs of recovery after the announcement of positive operating income of 2.6 billion yen. Sanyo remains the world number one producer of rechargeable batteries. Recent product innovations in this area include the Eneloop Low self-discharge NiMH battery, a "hybrid" rechargeable NiMH (Nickel-metal hydride battery) which, unlike typical NiMH cells, can be used from-the-package without an initial recharge cycle and retain a charge significantly longer than batteries using standard NiMH battery design. The Eneloop line competes against similar products such as Rayovac's "Hybrid Rechargeable" line.
In December 2005 Sanyo had their new Super Sharp Technology patented.
In January 2006 Sanyo received a massive capital injection from Goldman Sachs, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Daiwa Securities which resulted in five members of the banks represented joining the nine-person Board of Directors.
Tomoyo Nonaka, a former NHK anchorwoman who was appointed Chairman of the company, stepped down in March 2007. The President, Toshimasa Iue, also stepped down in April of that year; Seiichiro Sano was appointed to head the company effective April 2007. In October 2007, Sanyo cancelled a 110 billion yen ($942 million) sale of its semiconducter business, blaming the global credit crisis for the decision and stating that after exploring its other options, it had decided to keep the business and develop it as part of its portfolio.
On April 1, 2008, they merged their cell phone division with Kyocera.
On November 2, 2008, Sanyo and Panasonic announced that they have agreed on the main points of a proposed buyout that would make Sanyo a subsidiary of Panasonic and a formal announcement of the acquisition was made on Sanyo's web site on December 19, 2008. They became a subsidiary of Panasonic on December 21, 2009.
On July 15, 2010 Sanyo agreed to sell its semiconductor operations to ON Semiconductor for $366 million to be completed before the end of 2010.
On July 29. 2010 Panasonic reached an agreement to acquire the remaining shares of Panasonic Electric Works and Sanyo shares for $9.4 billion.
By April 2012, parent company Panasonic plans to terminate the Sanyo brand, however it will remain on some of the products where the Sanyo brand still holds value to consumers.
Solar cells and plants
The Sanyo HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin layer) solar cell is composed of a mono thin crystalline silicon wafer surrounded by ultra-thin amorphous silicon layers.
Sanyo Energy opened its solar module assembly plants in Hungary and in Mexico in 2004, and in 2006 it produced solar modules worth $213 million. In 2007, Sanyo completed a new unit at its solar module plant in Hungary that was to triple its annual capacity to 720,000 units in 2008.
Plans to expand production were based on rising demands for Sanyo Hungary products, whose leading markets are Germany, Italy, Spain and the Scandinavian countries. The plant at Dorog, outside Budapest, will be Sanyo Electric's largest facility producing solar modules in the entire world.
In late September 2008, Sanyo Electric Company, Ltd. announced its decision to build a manufacturing plant for solar ingots and wafers (the building blocks for silicon solar cells) in Inagi, Japan. The plant will begin operating in October 2009 and will reach its full production capacity of 70 megawatts (MW) of solar wafers per year by April 2010. Sanyo and Nippon Oil have decided to launch a joint company for the production and sale of thin-film solar panels, to be named Sanyo Eneos Solar Co., Ltd. The new joint company will start production and sales at an initial scale of 80MW and gradually increase its production capacity. For this joint project, Sanyo will draw on its solar cell technologies, based on the technology acquired through the development of the HIT Solar Cell.
Sanyo has pioneered the production of nickel cadmium batteries in 1964, nickel metal hydride batteries in 1990, lithium Ion batteries in 1994, and lithium Polymer batteries in 1999. In 2000, it acquired Toshiba's Nickel Metal Hydride battery business, including the Takasaki factory.
Electric vehicle batteries
Sanyo Electric Co Ltd. supplies nickel metal hydride batteries (NiMH batteries) to Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen. Sanyo is developing NiMH batteries with PSA Peugeot Citroen jointly. The Company is also in partnership to develop lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles with the Volkswagen group. SANYO lithium-ion batteries for Plug-in HEV will also be housed in SUZUKI's fleet vehicles.
Sanyo Electric plans to raise monthly production of NiMH batteries for hybrid vehicles from the current 1 million units to up to 2.5 million by the end of fiscal 2005.
Sanyo is the major sponsor of the Penrith Panthers Rugby League team in the National Rugby League (Australia). In football, sponsor of Club Atlético River Plate from 1992 to 1995 and Coritiba Foot Ball Club from 1995 to 1999.