A fire at a major supplier of notebook batteries could cause problems for some notebook makers like Dell and HP:
Dell, the world's second-largest PC maker after Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), also said prices of its separately sold batteries used as replacements or for surplus power had gone up because of the shortage caused partly by the March 3 fire at LG Chem's (051910.KS) Ochang plant.
LG Chem is the second biggest South Korean battery maker. The fire contributed to a worldwide battery shortage that could affect up to 40 percent of second-quarter shipments at Asustek Computer (2357.TW), Taiwan's No. 2 PC maker, an Asustek executive told Reuters earlier on Tuesday.
A spokesman for Round Rock, Texas-based Dell declined to give the percentage of total Dell sales attributable to separately sold battery packs, but the amount is likely to be minimal as Dell's main products are fully assembled desktop and laptop PCs and business server computers.
"We sell battery packs. The prices of those battery packs for people ordering extra batteries have gone up," Dell spokesman Jess Blackburn said, declining to say by how much.
He added that Dell is "not commenting on what impact, if any, that this is having on the prices of our products," referring to notebook PCs.
"The industry is experiencing battery supply constraints because of these problems," Blackburn added. "Therefore, pricing is being impacted by current availability. But we are working with our partners throughout our supply chain to reduce the impact on our customers.
LG Chem competes in the notebook battery business with Samsung SDI (006400.KS) and Japan's Sony Corp (SNE.N) (6758.T), among others. LG Chem has said it expected the Ochang plant to start production again in two to three months.