Sharp bets recovery on IGZO LCD panel biz

Shares of the struggling Japanese electronics giant jump after it announces upping production of its latest liquid crystal display (LCD) while seeking supply contracts with PC manufacturers.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Beleaguered Japanese electronics giant Sharp is pinning its hopes of a recovery on increasing production of its new IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) panels to sell to major PC manufacturers.

Reuters reported Monday, citing Kyodo news agency, that Sharp was seeking supply contacts with Lenovo, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, all of which make ultrabooks.

In the report, Sharp spokesperson Miyuki Nakayama confirmed the company started producing IGZO screens at a LCD factory in Nara prefecture in Western Japan this month, and volumes have increased at two plants.
Sharp already makes IGZO displays for Apple's iPad tablet at its Kameyama plant since April, the report added.

Sharp said IGZO displays, which consumes only 10 percent to 20 percent of the power required by conventional panels and are also thinner, are better suited for ultrabooks, Reuters noted.

The company's announcement of increasing its IGZO production helped its shares to gain as much as 11 percent in early trading Monday, Reuters said, marking their biggest one-day gain in almost two months.

Another report in the Japan Times Monday said, citing industry sources, Sharp wants to secure higher production capacity of IGZO panels by converting its LCD plant in Tenri, Nara prefecture, in the hope of revitalizing its flagging LCD business.

The Kameyama plant will focus on making IGZO panels for notebook and tablet computers via long-term deals with Lenovo, Dell and HP, while the plant in Tenri will mainly make smaller panels for smartphones, the sources said.

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