INCJ may buy Panasonic LCD plant

Kyodo

Innovation Network Corp. of Japan is making final arrangements to buy a liquid crystal display panel plant from Panasonic Corp. to boost the production capacity of a joint LCD venture it is forming with three manufacturers, sources said Friday.

Panasonic plans to sell its LCD panel plant in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture, part of the electronics maker’s efforts to sharply scale down its loss-making television business.

Panasonic and INCJ, an investment fund owned largely by the government, will later decide on terms and the acquisition price, the sources said.

INCJ will invest in a company to be created by merging the LCD businesses of Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd.

INCJ is expected to hold a 70 percent share in new venture, to be named Japan Display K.K. The company, to be established next spring, will make small and medium-size displays.

INCJ had been studying ways to boost output to meet growing demand for LCD panels used in smartphones and tablet computers.

It judged that the Mobara plant will help the new venture to cut costs and facilitate technology transfers as the plant is located next to a plant that manufactures small and medium-size LCDs run by a Hitachi group company, the sources said.

Panasonic plans to cease production of plasma panels used in some of its televisions at its No. 3 plant in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, during the 2011 business year.

It will also cut more than 1,000 related jobs through an early retirement program, according to sources.