Fri, May 17, 2019 - Page 12 News List

TPK still optimistic on JDI deal

SYNERGY:The touch sensor supplier dismissed speculation that negotiations to acquire a 50 percent stake in the Japanese display manufacturer have broken down

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

TPK Holding Co (宸鴻), a touch sensor supplier for Apple Inc’s iPads, yesterday said it is seeking to wrap up talks for a 50 percent stake in Japan Display Inc (JDI) by the end of this year.

The Taipei-based company said that it is not giving up yet, as the deal would create synergy for the company’s touch business, TPK chairman Michael Chiang (江朝瑞) told reporters on the sidelines of the firm’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Taipei.

The deal would help secure panel supply from the Tokyo-based maker based on a proposed supply agreement by TPK, with an aim to boost TPK’s role in the supply chain, enlarge its customer base and expand its market share in automotive displays.

“The negotiation is still going on. We cannot disclose details, but what I can tell you is that we are working together toward solving differences between the two parties,” Chiang said in response to a shareholder’s question about the deal.

“It will not take too long. It is our hope [to wrap up the deal] this year,” Chiang said, dismissing speculation that the negotiations have broken down.

TPK last month said that it had signed a letter of intent to invest US$230 million in a consortium, Suwa Investment Holdings LLC, that would acquire a 49.82 percent stake in JDI for ¥60 billion (US$546.6 million).

Commenting on its business outlook, TPK said it is in talks with five potential clients for its silver nanowire (SNW) touch technology to produce touch modules for 65-inch, 75-inch and 85-inch electronic whiteboards for schools.

TPK is scheduled to start small-volume production of touch modules using SNW technology at the end of this year and start mass production next year, Chiang said.

The volume could rise significantly in 2021 and 2022, he said.

“We are bullish about SNW technology because it can be widely applied to different product sizes,” he said.

TPK has been developing SNW technology for 15 years and the commercialization of the technology should be a new growth driver for the firm, especially at a time when the industry is facing difficult times, it said.

“This year will be a tough year... Prices have fallen severely in recent years,” Chiang said. “It is still our goal to eke out a profit this year.”

TPK posted a net profit of NT$192 million (US$6.16 million) for last quarter, little changed from NT$191 million in the previous quarter.

The US-China trade dispute has made no impact on the company, Chiang said.

The company is monitoring how the situation goes as it is costly to allocate production lines outside China, he said.

If fab relocation becomes unavoidable, Vietnam is a potential option, he said, citing the establishment of iPhone supply chains there.

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