Asia Express - East Asian ICT
Display - Sony Confirms Intent to Buy Chi Mei's LCD Panel Subsidiary
January 07, 2005
Japanese Sony Group confirmed on Wednesday circulating rumors of its ongoing negotiation with Taiwanese Chi Mei Optoelectronics to acquire IDT (International Display Technology). ST-LCD, the vendor's 50-50 joint venture with Toyota, will be the potential buyer. Sum of the purchase is gauged at around 30 billion yen (US$288.2 million; 1US$= 104.1 yen), however, no consensus has been reached as of yet.


IDT is a wholly-owned Japan-based unit of Chi Mei, capable of making high-resolution LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) panels for small PC monitors as well as medical equipment. The company was set up between IBM Japan and Chi Mei in 2001; in autumn of 2004, Chi Mei came to hold a 100% stake in the LCD panel maker. ST-LCD currently makes small LCD panels for Sony, mainly used in mobile handsets and digital cameras. Plans are to increase its current monthly capacity from 32,000 motherglass inputs to 40,000 by April 2005.


Through the acquisition, ST-LCD hopes to boost capacity and its aptitude for technology development. As Chi Mei plans to concentrate on large LCD panel production for TVs in the future, while ST-LCD targets mainly at the small and medium panel segment, the transaction is widely expected to go through.