TOKYO (Reuters) – Rising prices for raw materials, including nickel and copper, accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were having a “big” impact on Panasonic Corp, with the Japanese industrial giant only able to pass on some of those increases to its customers, the CEO said.

“We are able to pass on costs to some business clients depending on our contracts. Passing higher prices on to consumers is more difficult,” said Yuki Kusumi, who oversees a company that makes products ranging from Tesla Inc’s electric vehicle batteries to washing machines.

Panasonic, Kusumi said at a roundtable briefing, was responding by improving manufacturing machinery to help absorb the extra expense, but those measures were not enough cover big price increases.

The global price of nickel, much of it supplied by Russia to make batteries, has soared this year, reaching more than $100,000 a tonne in March.

Panasonic said in February that its third quarter operating profit slid 44% partly because of rising material costs. The company is expected to release results for the year that ended March 31 next month.

Kusumi, who became CEO last year, released his first midterm business strategy this month, including a commitment to invest in auto battery production, supply chain software services and air purifier and air conditioner business.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)