Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Shares of Optimax drop on rumor of rejected buyout bid

JUST A DREAM? If an Optimax Technology-LG Chem alliance succeeded, it would likely challenge Nitto Denko Corp's No. 1 position in the market

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Optimax Technology Corp (力特光電), the nation's largest maker of polarizing films that are a central component of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) technology, yesterday saw its share prices close limit-down after it reportedly rejected a buyout by LG Chem Ltd of South Korea.

The Taoyuan-based company dismissed the Chinese-language Economic Daily News report as “media speculation” in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, where its shares closed at NT$13.25.

The South Korean company, the world’s third-largest supplier of polarizing films, also rebutted the report, calling it “groundless,” Bloomberg reported yesterday, citing LG Chem spokeswoman Tracey Park.

“We have not considered buying the Taiwanese company,” Park said.

If an Optimax Technology-LG Chem alliance were in the books, it would likely pose a challenge to Osaka-based Nitto Denko Corp’s No. 1 position in the polarizing film market, the Economic Daily News reported.

The news also followed an announcement by LG Display Co, another LG Group subsidiary, on March 26 that it was considering an alliance with AmTRAN Technology Co (瑞軒科技), a Taipei-based assembler of LCD televisions, to strengthen its position in the LCD market.

Optimax Technology is currently working on a NT$2.5 billion (US$82 million) private placement, a proposal passed by the company’s board last month in a bid to lure potential strategic investors, company spokesperson Julia Lee (李心英) said.

Lee said Optimax Technology had conducted talks with several potential investors, as the company wants to improve its competitiveness in the polarizing film market. She declined to specify the names of the potential investors and said no final decision had been reached on the private placement deal.

But the newspaper said that potential investors include LG Chem, Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) and Innolux Display Corp (群創光電), without citing where it obtained the information.

James Wu (巫俊毅), financial executive of Chunghwa Picture Tubes, said in a stock exchange filing yesterday that the company was interested in forming a partnership with any upstream or downstream manufacturer, but had closed no deals as yet.

Optimax Technology’s products are used in various applications, including electronic watches, cellular phones, laptops, desktop LCD monitors, digital cameras, portable DVDs, automation control panels and public inquiry systems.

With rising inventories, the company reported a net loss of NT$327 million (or NT$0.65 per share) in the first three months of the year, compared with a net loss of NT$450 million (or NT$0.89 per share) a year earlier. For last year it reported a net loss of NT$2.11 billion (or NT$4.17 per share).

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