Toyota Motor plans to buy new shares in its 'PEVE' joint venture with Panasonic to provide additional funds to boost production capacity for automotive batteries, sources said on Friday.

Toyota is making arrangements to raise its stake in Panasonic EV Energy from 60% at present to over 80% by purchasing the new shares that will be allotted to its group firms, the sources told Kyodo News.

Panasonic, which owns a 40% stake in the joint venture, has already been asked by antitrust authorities in China to reduce its stake in order to turn Sanyo Electric, the world's top supplier of lithium ion batteries, into a subsidiary.

By allotting the new shares to the Toyota group, the two companies are aiming to avoid any risk of their battery technology being leaked.

Panasonic EV Energy is currently in full operation as it scrambles to produce nickel metal hydride batteries for Toyota's best-selling Prius hybrid.

Panasonic acquires over half of Sanyo

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