Earlier this year, Toshiba, Sony and Hitachi agreed to spin off their small- and mid-sized display making operations to Innovation Network Corp, a Japan-based investment fund. Today, Nikkei has reported [subscription required] that the fund is planning to buy Panasonic's LCD manufacturing factory in the Chiba Prefecture in Japan for 20 billion yen ($255.5 million). The company anticipates investing another 100 billion yen ($1.28 billion) to convert the plant, which makes larger TV LCD panels, to produce LCD panels for smartphones and tablets.
This would be the second move by Panasonic to restructure its manufacturing capabilities. Last Wednesday, it was rumored that the company was exiting the small-to-mid-sized TV LCD panel business and was devoting capacity of its Hyogo, Japan plant to tablet panels and large-sized TV LCDs.
Innovation Network is believed to be making the move to enable it to boost its production capacity for small and midsize LCDs used in phones and tablets, while at the same time, saving on capital investment costs. If all goes to plan, the revamped facility will begin producing the smaller LCD panels in late 2012.