Tesla batteries help Panasonic profits soar

Panasonic is enjoying Tesla's rise.

The Japanese giant makes batteries for the U.S. electric car pioneer.

And the decade-old relationship looks to be paying off.

On Tuesday (February 2) Panasonic raised its full-year operating profit outlook by more than a half, and said the batteries would now be among its money makers.

Better known as a maker of home electronics, the firm has actually been moving away from low-margin consumer goods.

Outgoing chief Kazuhiro Tsuga has focused it on housing fixtures, car electronics and batteries instead.

Now the firm expects profit of about 2.2 billion dollars for the year to the end of March.

That would be down 22% on last year, but way ahead of its own earlier estimates and analyst forecasts.

It's also despite a tough year for some segments, such as in-flight entertainment systems for airliners.

Now the relationship with Tesla only looks set to deepen.

In October Panasonic said it was developing a new battery cell for Elon Musk's firm.

It's also planning to add a new production line at the Nevada factory it co-owns with Tesla.

Other electric vehicle makers are in its sights too.

Panasonic says it's looking at building a battery business in Norway to tap into demand from European carmakers.