Kyocera, the $15-billion Japanese electronics giant, is acquiring automotive LCD panel maker Optrex for around 20 billion yen ($256 million) in order to compete better against rivals Toshiba and Sharp, the Nikkei business daily yesterday reported.
Founded in 1976 by Asahi Glass and Mitsubishi Electric, Tokyo-based Optrex is one of the leading designers of flat panel displays. It offers a wide array of technologies from a simple monochrome PRNDL display to a fully integrated entertainment / navigation / HVAC / Trip Comp / Messaging centre console display.
Optrex is developing the Transmart displays, which provide a wide range of colours in a unique semi-transparent format.
Transmart displays offer the advantages of heads-up displays (HUDs) in a non-projection based technology that does not require a special windshield design. Information is projected onto the driver's visual field and follows either their gaze or the direction in which their head points.
It has more than 100 sales and distribution offices throughout the world, including Optrex America Inc. in Plymouth, Michigan, and Optrex Europe in Babenhausen, Germany.
Optrex reported sales of about 90 billion yen this year, the newspaper said.
The acquisition will allow Kyocera to focus on the automotive display segment, as the market for small-and-midsize panels used in smartphones, MP3 players, GPS systems and other consumer electronics intensifies, Nikkei said.
Optrex already supplies display panels for meters and audio systems to automakers in the US, Japan and Europe.