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Friday, June 22, 2012
Sony to Invest Millions In CMOS Sensors, Olympus

Sony said on Friday it would spend 80 billion yen ($997 million) to boost production of image sensors. Seperately, the company prepares for a capital tie-up with Olympus.

Sony plans to invest in Sony Semiconductor Corporation's Nagasaki Technology Center from the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 through the first half of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, to increase the production capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors.

This investment is intended to provide for new wafer processing equipment for stacked CMOS image sensors, and to increase and transform wafer lines capable of manufacturing CMOS image sensors.

With this development, Sony plans to increase total production capacity for CCD and CMOS image sensors to approximately 60,000 wafers per month by the end of September 2013.

In light of the expanding demand for smartphones and tablets, Sony plans to continue to solidify its global position in CMOS image sensors by strengthening its production capabilities for stacked CMOS image sensors, which provide greater performance in a more compact form. Furthermore, Sony intends to accelerate its growth strategy by incorporating new core technologies, including stacked CMOS image sensors, into a wide range of products for its digital imaging and mobile businesses, which are priorities within its electronics business.

The investment amount is approximately 80 billion yen, of which, the amount to be invested in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 (approximately 45 billion yen) was included in the forecast of the capital expenditures for semiconductors in the current fiscal year announced at the annual earnings release on May 10, 2012. In addition, Sony will utilize a governmental subsidy in its investment plan which will be provided by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan.

Sony posted a record net loss in the year to March 31, with its television unit hammered by weak demand and intense competition mainly from as Samsung Electronics.

Seperately, Olympus will soon enter into final negotiations with Sony for a capital tie-up with an injection of 50 billion yen ($623 million), the Asahi Shimbun reported today.

The paper said Olympus will give Sony exclusive negotiating rights at an early date, adding that Panasonic stepped back and will not make any investments to Olympus.

Olympus is expected to accept a 50 billion yen investment and proposed specifics for a linkup in the digital camera division and other conditions.

With a capital and business alliance with Sony, Olympus would further sharpen its technological edge for medical endoscopes and improve te performance of its money-losing digital camera operation. For Sony, an agreement would give the company more access to the growing medical sector.

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