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Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Sony denies plans to ditch plasma panels operations

WILD RUMORS Sony's top executive yesterday said that Taiwan's Chi Mei Optoelectronics could buy its LCD operations, but its plasma plans will continue

BLOOMBERG AND AP , TOKYO

Sony Corp's top executive yesterday reiterated that the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant had no plans to ditch its plasma display panel operations.

The Tokyo-based company also confirmed it is in talks with Taiwan's Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) to possibly buy its Japanese liquid-crystal display operations.

No Major Product

Chairman Nobuyuki Idei told reporters on the sidelines of a New Year's gathering of business leaders that plasma TVs may not be a major Sony product in the long run.

But he said Sony hadn't decided to abandon the business, reiterating the company's denial last month after Japan's top business daily, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, reported that Sony will stop selling plasma display TVs as early as spring of 2005.

"We never said that Sony will withdraw from that business. We simply said that we will focus more on LCD-TVs and other products," Idei said.

Meanwhile, Sony said no decision has been made on whether it would buy the Japanese liquid-crystal display operations of Taiwan's Chi Mei Optoelectronics.

A Taipei-based Chinese-language newspaper reported earlier yesterday that Chi Mei may sell its unit in Japan to a venture operated by Sony and Toyota Motor Corp before the end of this month. The report didn't say where it obtained the information.

Chi Mei may sell the unit, known as IDT, for as much as NT$6.5 billion (US$204 million), the report said.

Chi Mei can't comment on any part of the newspaper report, spokesman Eddie Chen (陳炎松) said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Chi Mei, which supplies Sony with LCDs for TVs, has one plant in Japan that makes small liquid-crystal displays mainly for laptops, according to the company.

Agreement

Sony has an agreement with South Korean maker Samsung Electronics Co to make next-generation liquid-crystal displays, starting later this year.

Sony has fallen behind rivals in offering liquid-crystal display TVs, which are rapidly winning buyers around the world.

Sony has been trying to make more core devices in-house to drive up profits in its electronics business.

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