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Bursting Batteries Recalled

In the second major battery brouhaha of recent months, NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) said today it is recalling 1.3 million Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq: SANYY) battery packs because of possible overheating problems.

Japan's largest mobile carrier said that the batteries, which are included in NTT DoCoMo D902i phones made by Mitsubishi Corp. , have "deformed parts" and, if accidentally dented either during or immediately after charging, could overheat and potentially "rupture." [Ed. Note: Sounds like an episode of ER.]

The phones are sold exclusively in Japan, and U.S. carriers said there is little likelihood of similar problems for Western Hemisphere customers. Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), the world's No. 1 handset provider, makes its own batteries, while U.S. vendor Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) "sources batteries from a number of suppliers," according to company spokesman Alan Buddendeck.

In August, Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) recalled more than 9 million lithium-ion laptop computer batteries after reports of some overheating and bursting into flames. The recall put a dent of more than $400 million in the third-quarter earnings of the consumer electronics giant.

The recall is another blow for Sanyo, the world's third-largest maker of lithium-ion batteries. Hit by slow sales of its mobile phones and digital cameras, Sanyo said last month it will lose money for the third straight year.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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