Sony quits LCD JV with Samsung

Japanese electronics giant Sony is to exit its S-LCD manufacturing joint-venture with South Korea’s Samsung. Samsung will pay $940 million to Sony for complete ownership of the venture.

Sony and Samsung have worked together on flat-panel LCD production for the past seven  years and industry reports made it clear last July that Sony was looking to exit the arrangement.

“In terms of direction it is a positive (for Sony),” said Keita Wakabayashi, an analyst at Mito Securities in Tokyo, about the deal. “But if they are making a loss on the sale, one could ask why they didn’t make this decision sooner.”

Sony still retains four flat-panel TV plants of its own — in Japan, Brazil, China and Malaysia.  However, in November, Sony cut its TV unit sales forecast for the second time in 2011 and dropped a plan to boost its TV sales to 40 million sets a year in the fiscal year ending March 2013.

Samsung is the world’s largest flat-panel TV maker.

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