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Saturday, February 04, 2006
Sanyo Quits OLED Business

Eastman Kodak and Sanyo Electric will close their OLED (organic light emitting diode) display manufacturing joint venture in Japan, the two companies said last week.

SK Display was established in Japan in 2001 on the back of a joint research and development project that began in 1999. Sanyo owns 66 percent of the company and Kodak owns the remaining 34 percent. The venture began manufacturing OLED displays in 2003 but has not managed to become a major player in the market.

Under a deal worked out between the two companies, Sanyo will first buy Kodak's stake in the venture then shut it down.

OLED displays are an emerging technology. The OLED pixels feature an organic material that emits its own light so no backlight is needed. That means the display panels consume less power and can be made thinner than competing LCD (liquid crystal display) screens. OLEDs are also suitable for moving images and offer good color reproduction.

Small commercial OLED displays produced by companies including SK Display have already found their way into devices such as cell phones and digital still cameras. Manufacturers are still researching technology that will enable the production of larger screens and some companies are talking about the possibility of OLED-based televisions.

The move comes as part of Sanyo's overall corporate restructuring plan, which is pushing the company to focus on core businesses and cut others.

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