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Business deals

Apple leads $370m funding for struggling Japan Display

Company's LCD panels needed for popular new iPhone models

Strong demand for the iPhone 11 series, released in September, likely prompted Apple to extend aid to LCD supplier Japan Display.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Apple will be among a group of backers expected to grant as much as 40 billion yen ($368 million) in support for troubled screen maker Japan Display, it was learned Wednesday.

Japan Display, also known as JDI, said that a contingent of unidentified clients agreed to the relief package. Apple will be responsible for most of the lifeline, a source familiar with the matter said.

The news opens another chapter in JDI's bailout drama after China's Harvest Tech Investment Management walked away from a rescue deal in late September. The liquid crystal display maker has been scrambling to find alternative funding sources since then. Apple previously indicated an intent to foot $200 million for this separate rescue plan.

The new deal appears primarily to involve faster payments for purchases by Apple and other provisions that will improve JDI's cash flow by up to 40 billion yen.

Over 5 billion yen of that sum will come from clients that had planned to invest this amount into JDI, the Japanese company said. Instead, those clients will first ease payment terms and provide other forms of financial support.

Apple apparently agreed to this new aid package because it needs JDI's LCD panels to boost production of new iPhone models released last month, having upgraded its production targets for the new smartphones.

The exit by Harvest left the display maker with a 50 billion yen hole to fill. JDI will carry out the new fundraising efforts announced Wednesday as the need arises from November until it finishes raising the 50 billion yen.

JDI had earlier hoped to solidify the framework for the 50 billion yen rescue package by the end of this month. "The earliest would be the end of October, but I wish to refrain from making a definitive statement," JDI President Minoru Kikuoka said Wednesday, suggesting that it could be delayed.

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