Kodak and Sanyo go organic

Eastman Kodak and Sanyo Electric have formed a global joint venture, the SK Display Corporation, to manufacture OLED displays for consumer devices such as cameras and PDAs.

Eastman Kodak and Sanyo Electric have formed a global joint venture, the SK Display Corporation, to manufacture organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays for consumer devices such as cameras and PDAs.

Beginning with a pilot facility in early 2002 and graduating to a full production facility in early 2003, the two companies believe that the SK Display Corporation will offer the world’s first full-scale manufacturing facility dedicated to full-colour, active-matrix OLED displays.

Kodak will hold a 34% stake in the new company and make available its OLED manufacturing technology and its OLED patent portfolio. Kodak also intends to commit about $125 million in cash and loan guarantees over the next two years.

For its part, Sanyo will hold a 66% stake in the company and make available its low-temperature polysilicon thin-film transfer (TFT) technology and manufacturing capabilities. Sanyo will commit about $225 million in cash and loan guarantees.

Manufacturing will be based at a new plant in Japan dedicated to active-matrix OLED displays.

Each company will market and sell the displays.

The joint venture agreement extends the February 1999 joint development agreement under which Kodak and Sanyo successfully developed the world’s first active-matrix full-colour OLED displays: a 2.4-inch model in September 1999 followed by 5.5-inch displays in May 2000.

The market for OLED displays is expected to range from $900 million to $3.6 billion by 2005, according to Stanford Resources and DisplaySearch.

Demand for these displays is being driven by the growing consumer interest in hand-held electronics and the superior performance of OLED over the liquid crystal technology now in widespread use.

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