(Bloomberg) -- Panasonic Holdings Corp. will seek to improve the profitability of underperforming units over the next two years while considering whether it’s the “best owner” for the businesses, Chief Executive Officer Yuki Kusumi said. 

The Japanese electronics maker’s decision last year to sell part of its automotive systems unit to affiliates of Apollo Global Management Inc. for ¥311 billion ($2 billion) was driven by such considerations, Kusumi said in a group interview Tuesday. “But our goal is not to sell,” he added.

Panasonic adopted a holding company structure two years ago, a revamp aimed at making each division more accountable for its performance and easier to forge such deals. In a mid-term strategy briefing last week, Panasonic said it’s falling behind on its group goals to achieve a return on equity of 10% or more and cumulative operating profit of ¥1.5 trillion for the two fiscal years through April of next year. 

Asked whether an initial public offering of any units was an option, Kusumi said: “We need to think about this while considering that parent-subsidiary listings are currently under scrutiny” by regulators.

Panasonic shares are down about 4% this year, following a 26% climb in 2023. Kusumi, who took over as CEO in mid-2021, has been seeking to free up more cash to invest in areas of growth. 

Once a global leader in consumer electronics sales, Panasonic is now an important supplier of batteries to Tesla Inc. and investing in software, while seeking to retain its relevance in consumer appliances and industrial devices.

Asked whether a third factory planned for North America to supply batteries for electric vehicles might take longer to establish, given the downturn in the EV market, Kusumi said the focus now is on boosting the productivity and profitability of existing factories in Nevada and Kansas. 

As a result, it’s predictable that a decision on a third plant will take longer, the CEO said. Panasonic also operates battery facilities in Osaka. 

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