Wed, Sep 22, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Epistar, Toyoda agree on joint venture

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Epistar Corp (晶元光電), the nation’s biggest LED chipmaker, yesterday said it had inked agreements with Japan’s Toyoda Gosei Co to form a NT$23 million (US$729,000) joint venture to build a stronger foothold in the fast-growing LED general lighting market.

The deal is an extension of a cross-licensing agreement signed by the companies last week to share LED manufacturing technologies and could help Epistar avert patent disputes in the future.

“This joint-venture agreement combines Toyoda Gosei’s leading-edge LED technology with Epistar’s low-cost manufacturing capabilities to expand the partners’ LED sales in the growing market of illumination applications,” they said in a joint statement posted on Epistar’s Web site.

Toyoda Gosei will hold 51 percent of the new company, TE OPTO Corp (豐晶光電), and Epistar 40 percent. Toyoda Gosei’s sales agent, Twin Hill Co (敦意), will own 9 percent.

“This is likely part of Epistar’s efforts to avoid patent disputes with other major LED patent holders by selling Toyoda Gosei’s branded LED chips via the joint venture,” said an industry analyst, who declined to be named.

Last week’s agreement with Toyoda Gosei made Epistar the only Taiwanese LED firm to have access to patented technologies such as indium gallium nitride (InGaN) LEDs and aluminum gallium indium phosphide (AlGaInP) LEDs from Toyoda Gosei.

TE OPTO, located in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖), aims to generate NT$1.85 billion in revenues before the end of next year, about a year after the company’s target operations start on Nov. 1, the companies said.

Since 2006, Toyoda Gosei has been outsourcing part of its LED chip production to Epistar.

Epistar shares jumped 3.17 percent to NT$97.50 yesterday, hitting their highest level in more than four months. The benchmark TAIEX inched up 0.12 percent.

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