Matsushita to cover direct costs of Nokia's battery recall

Matsushita will cover the cost of a recall of batteries it manufacturered for Nokia phones.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (MEI) will cover the direct costs of a battery recall affecting 46 million Nokia mobile phones, which could be as high as US$172 million (AU$209 million).

MEI is the parent company of Matsushita Battery Industrial Co, which manufactured the batteries.

The estimated costs will be between YEN 10 billion and YEN 20 billion (AU$104 million and AU$209 million), Matsushita said in a Friday press release. The company will accrue those costs in the first half of 2008, the vendor added. The costs include money Nokia had to spend on logistics and call centers as well as the replacement battery costs.

Nokia announced Aug. 14 that it was recalling the Nokia-branded BL-5C batteries, made by Matsushita, because of a risk of overheating. The batteries were sold with a wide range of Nokia phones.

Any Nokia consumer who is currently using a Nokia product containing a BL-5C battery subject to the product advisory can request a replacement battery free of charge. Customers who would like to check if their BL-5C battery is subject to the advisory should visit therecall Web site or contact their local Nokia call center, Nokia said.

Nokia's top priorities are "the safety of our customers and the reliability and quality of our products," Robert Andersson, head of Nokia customer and market operations, said in a statement.

Matsushita has established a corporate lithium-ion battery customer support and management division to help deal with the impact of the recall, the company said.

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Grant Gross

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