Panasonic's battery unit sees Q3 profit rise on stronger North America sales

A man is reflected on Panasonic Corp's logo at Panasonic Center in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's Panasonic Holdings posted a rise in third-quarter operating profit for its battery-making energy unit on Friday, helped by stronger sales in North America, and kept its full-year profit forecast for the segment.

Third-quarter operating profit was boosted by increased sales in North America and a better balance between raw materials and selling prices, despite weaker sales at its Japan factory and higher fixed costs, Panasonic said in presentation materials.

The unit, which makes batteries for Tesla and other automakers, maintained its forecast for operating profit of 115 billion yen ($785 million) for the year ending on March 31.

Panasonic maintained its forecast for the unit even as automakers and suppliers around the world are facing disruptions to their electrification plans amid a slower pace of growth for battery-powered vehicles.

The battery unit foresaw a lower operating profit for the in-vehicle part of its business on lower-than-expected compensation for reduced cell production at its factory in Japan, but that was balanced out by a better profit forecast for the unit's industrial and consumer business.

Panasonic's overall operating profit rose 50.9% to 127.4 billion yen in the third quarter, helped by the performance of the lifestyle, automotive and energy units.

Its group chief financial officer is set to hold a briefing on the third-quarter earnings from 0900 GMT.

($1 = 146.4300 yen)

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Tom Hogue)