Sony’s combustible battery crisis took a turn for the better on Thursday after Japanese computer companies lined up behind the electronics group to say its batteries posed no danger to their customers.

The news helped stop a slide in the Japanese blue-chip’s share price that had threatened to become a rout.

Sony’s share price was hit on Tuesday after Dell, the US computer company, announced the recall of 4.1m lithium-ion batteries made by Sony, after a small number of the batteries caught fire.

The crisis spread after US consumer safety officials said they were reviewing
all Sony-made lithium-ion batteries in laptop computers for the same problem.

During the day a number of Japanese computer makers reassured customers – and Sony shareholders.

Fujitsu said: ”We have determined that there is no possibility that any battery trouble could cause smoking or fire in our notebook

Toshiba said it used Sony lithium-ion battery packs in its computers but the batteries used were different.

Lenovo Japan, part of the Hong Kong-listed Lenovo Group, said it was confident its computers, which also use Sony batteries, were safe.

Japanese companies’ comments support reassurances by Sony, and contrast with the more nervous approach taken by US consumer authorities. Sony said on Wednesday the safety problem that sparked Dell’s recall could only occur
in the US company’s computers.

By the end of the Tokyo trading day Sony’s shares were 0.4 per cent on the day, and down only 1.5 per cent on Monday’s closing price.

Sony has said it would pay some of the costs of the Dell recall. UBS has estimated the recall could cost $400m, with Sony bearing most of that.

Some analysts think most consumers will not bother to comply with the recall, given that computers have caught fire in only a handful of cases and no one has been injured.

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