Tech

Japan Display to come under Chinese group’s control after $2.1 billion bailout

Japan Display Inc’s Chief Executive Nobuhiro Higashiiriki attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan August 9, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO (Reuters) – Apple Inc supplier Japan Display said on Friday it has signed a long-awaited deal under which it will receive a 232 billion yen ($2.1 billion) bailout that will give a Chinese-Taiwanese group a near-majority stake in the firm.

The group which includes Taiwanese flat screen maker TPK Holding and China asset manager Harvest Group, will inject up to 80 billion yen by buying shares and bonds.

As a result, it will own a 49.8 percent stake and become the largest shareholder in the company in place of the Japanese government-backed INCJ fund, effectively ending the government’s efforts to keep the last remaining domestic display maker out of foreign hands.

INCJ will also join the bailout by accepting a debt-to-equity swap totaling 75 billion yen and extending senior loans worth 77 billion yen. It’s stake will fall to 12.7 percent from 25.3 percent after the deal.

The rescue funding comes as a late shift to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens and slowing iPhone sales have threatened Japan Display’s survival.

Japan Display expects to post its fifth straight year of net losses in the year ending this month, as disappointing sales of Apple’s iPhone XR, the only model with LCD screens, dashed hopes for a turnaround.

The Apple business accounted for more than half of Japan Display’s revenue over the last four years.

Under the latest deal, Japan Display and the group are planning to launch an OLED panel plant to produce iPhone screens, sources with direct knowledge of the matter previously said.

Japan Display was formed in 2012 by combining the LCD businesses of Hitachi Ltd, Toshiba Corp and Sony Corp in a deal brokered by the government.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman


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