Japan Display (JDI) announced on the Jan. 31st that they have signed a final contract to receive investment of up to 108 billion yen (980 million dollar) from Ichigo Asset Management. Therefore, the company is expected to release its debts and invest in new fields such as fingerprint sensors. However, it has yet to be determined whether JDI will invest in OLED for Smartphones.
It will take over preferred shares at 50.4 billion yen and secure 44 percent of voting rights to become the largest shareholder. The remaining 50.4 billion yen will take over preferred shares that do not have voting rights, but after one year, it will be possible to convert ordinary shares, which will result in more than a majority of Ichigo’s voting rights. Scott Caron, the CEO of Ichigo, will be Chairman of JDI after approval. JDI plans to hold an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on March 25 to get the official approval and receive the funds on March 26 the same day.
JDI is supplying liquid crystal panels for the iPhone to Apple, but JDI needs a new revenue source as Apple is set to hire more OLED panels in the mid- and long-term. JDI plans to use funds from Ichiro to invest in facilities such as LCDs for automobile and fingerprint sensors. In an interview in September 19, JDI’s CEO Kikuoka said, “We will decide whether or not to mass-produce OLED panels for smartphones in 2020,” but this investment is not expected to be easy.
<JDI president Kikuoka (left) and Ichigo CEO Scott Caron (Nikkei.com)>