Japanese electronics giant Panasonic plans to sell subsidiary Sanyo Electric's washing machine and refrigerator operations in Asia to China's Haier Group, a report said Thursday.
Sanyo will sell all its shareholdings in about 10 subsidiaries and affiliates in Japan and Southeast Asia, the Nikkei business daily reported.
The sale price is estimated at about 10 billion yen (128 million dollars), the newspaper said, adding that it would be China's first buyout of key operations from a major Japanese manufacturer.
The firms to be sold to Haier currently develop, manufacture and sell washing machines and refrigerators -- known as white goods -- with combined annual revenue at some 70 billion yen, the newspaper said.
The deal is scheduled to be completed by March next year, the Nikkei said, adding that 2,000 employees of the firms are expected to be transferred to Haier.
Panasonic declined to confirm the report, saying in a statement: "Our company is considering various options over our business reorganisation" but that no decisions had been made.
But Dow Jones Newswires reported that Panasonic, due to announce its first quarter earnings Thursday, is expected to announce the plan later in the day.
In Japan, the deal will involve a trio of companies including wholly owned Sanyo washing machine unit Sanyo Aqua and Haier Sanyo Electric Co., a 60-40 refrigerator development joint venture of Haier and Sanyo, the Nikkei said.
In Southeast Asia, units that manufacture and sell washing machines and refrigerators in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and elsewhere will be sold, as will shares in their affiliates, it said.
Haier will also be allowed to use the Sanyo brand in the region for a certain period, it added.
Haier was the world's largest refrigerator maker in 2010, controlling 13 per cent of the market, while ranking second in washing machines, with a nine per cent global share.
But the company has been struggling to boost its presence in Japan and Southeast Asia, where Japanese brands are strong. Sanyo commands 15 per cent of Japan's washing machine market and 30 per cent of the Vietnamese refrigerator market.
Since becoming a Panasonic subsidiary in late 2009, Sanyo has been working to jettison businesses that overlap with those of its parent.