Japan's LCD screen giant plans $2.5b listing: Reports

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan Display, the world's biggest maker of LCD screens for smartphones and tablet computers, plans to raise US$2 billion (S$2.5 billion) in an initial public offering, reports said on Friday.

The IPO would be the biggest on the Tokyo Stock Exchange so far this year after drinks giant Suntory's food-and-beverage unit raised US$3.9 billion.

The Japanese liquid crystal display maker, whose clients include Apple and Sony, would raise as much as 200 billion yen (S$2.5 billion) from a share sale that would give it a market value of 700-800 billion yen, Dow Jones Newswires quoted a source with knowledge of the deal as saying.

The IPO is expected during the fiscal year to March 2014, Dow Jones and the leading Nikkei business daily reported.

Japan Display - set up last year through the merger of Hitachi, Toshiba and Sony's money-losing LCD units - plans to use the funds to boost production of small and medium-sized screens as it faces tough competition from South Korean and Taiwanese rivals.

The government-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan holds about 70 per cent of the firm with the three electronics giants each claiming a roughly 10 per cent stake.

The merger was aimed at helping Japanese firms better compete in high resolution display technology, which has become the standard for smartphones, tablets and other electronic gadgets.

Japan Display, which declined to comment on the IPO report, remains the global leader in the production of small and mid-sized LCD displays, with nearly 17 per cent of the worldwide market, according to US-based NPD DisplaySearch.

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