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Vendors Vague On Notebook Battery Shortage

3/27/2008 03:06:00 PM Eastern

New York — Notebook manufactures would not give specific details on how their businesses were affected by a fire that damaged one of the world’s primary laptop battery factories earlier this month.

LG Chem, which is South Korea’s second-biggest battery vendor, said its factory will be out of action for up to three months

In the short term, Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Sony and other notebook manufactures said they are scrambling to fill a hole created by the fire at the LG Chem notebook-battery factory in South Korea.

The fire severely damaged the facility, putting it out of action for up to three months, according to printed reports. This could both limit availability and drive up prices until the factory is back online.

Vendors would not directly say to what extent the fire would affect business.

“HP continues to monitor the battery cell market following the LG Chem incident in Korea. This incident tightened the supply of cells in the marketplace, and we are taking appropriate steps to manage the situation,” an HP spokesman said.

Sony, which is also a manufacture of lithium-ion notebook batteries, declined to comment on the current status of supply and demand concerning these products. However, the company did say it is operating at full capacity in response to the market’s demand.

Acer-branded notebooks are not affected by the fire, although there will be some short-term impact to the supply of Gateway-branded notebooks. “We have secured commitments from other major battery suppliers and this should not impact our outlook for the current or upcoming quarters,” a company spokeswoman said.

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