French electronics maker Thomson SA and China's TCL International Holdings have said they will combine their TV and DVD businesses to create the world's biggest television maker.
The venture, which will be fully owned by the Chinese company within 18 months, could help TCL circumvent anti-dumping rules in the U.S. and European markets as it pursues its ambition to become a global brand. At the same time, Thomson gains access to China's cheap manufacturing base, analysts said.
The joint venture, two-thirds owned by fast-growing TCL and one-third by Thomson, will crank out 18 million TVs and DVD players a year and have annual sales of more than three billion euros ($3.51 billion). Thomson said it would shift about 1.25 billion euros in annual revenues to the venture but added the deal would not entail new job losses or charges.
TCL, the Hong Kong-listed arm of China's second-largest TV and cellphone maker, TCL Group, and Thomson announced a binding memorandum of understanding on the venture, called TCL-Thomson Electronics.
Combined, the venture will have assets of more than 450 million euros.