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Hitachi, Canon, Matsushita forge LCD tech alliance

Posted: 27 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:display tech alliance? LCD panels? OLED?

Hitachi Ltd, Canon Inc. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd announced Dec. 24 that they have reached a basic agreement on a comprehensive alliance aimed at reinforcing and growing the LCD panel businesses and technologies. The announcement confirms an earlier report that the three Japanese firms were in talks concerning a possible alliance.

Under the alliance, the three companies will merge their strengths to further develop cutting-edge display technologies and expand their scope of application. Hitachi specializes in liquid crystal-related technologies, including In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology; Canon owns technologies in the camera, printer and medical equipment fields; and Matsushita is a major player in the global flat-panel TV field.

Moreover, it has been basically agreed by the three companies that Canon and Matsushita will, by transfer of shares from Hitachi, each acquire 24.9 percent of the shares of Hitachi Displays Co. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi engaged in small- and medium-sized LCD panel-related businesses, by Mar. 31, subject to approvals by regulatory authorities. As a result, Hitachi's stake in Hitachi Displays is to become 50.2 percent. The three companies will further discuss the details of the agreement.

By joining forces with Canon and Matsushita, Hitachi seeks to accelerate the development of new LCD panel technologies. In addition, by working to optimally allocate business resources in order to establish a stable, high profit structure as a group, Hitachi will work to advance its basic management policy of "Collaborative Creation and Profits."

By paving the way for stable procurement of LCD panels through acquisition of an equity interest in Hitachi Displays, Canon seeks to sharpen its product development capabilities by shortening development times and enhancing product features. Furthermore, Canon aims to accelerate ongoing development of OLED displays by teaming up with Hitachi.

Matsushita is expanding and strengthening its mainline PDP operations. It is also expanding its involvement in the businesses of Hitachi Displays and IPS Alpha Technology Ltd, a joint venture held by companies including Matsushita and Canon. These moves are part of a Matsushita-orchestrated initiative in collaboration with the Hitachi Group to ensure a stable supply of LCDs by pushing ahead with construction of a next-generation plant at IPS Alpha.

As the second stage, the three companies are planning ownership changes that would have Canon take a majority holding in Hitachi Displays, and Matsushita take a majority holding in IPS Alpha.

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