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Business deals

Japan's Denso to pour $282m into OLED maker

Autoparts producer seeks to take on South Korean rivals in in-car panels

Denso showcases an OLED panel made by JOLED at an annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas in January.

TOKYO -- Japanese autoparts maker Denso is investing 30 billion yen ($282 million) in JOLED, a spinoff of Sony's and Panasonic's display businesses, hoping to catch up with the South Korean competition in automotive panels.

Denso will take a roughly 15% interest through a private placement of new shares, becoming one of the biggest stockholders after the state-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan. Japan Display also holds a 15% stake in JOLED.

The plan is to begin mass production of OLED panels using a low-cost method in 2019.

Next-generation automobiles will need display systems that let drivers easily keep tabs on data collected by many sensors and cameras. JOLED aims to make further inroads into automotive displays by partnering with Denso, which has a proven track record on in-vehicle electronics and automotive control systems.

JOLED and Denso plan to develop displays for digital dashboards and mirror camera systems. Panels that use organic light-emitting diodes can be made into more complex shapes than liquid crystal displays and can be better customized for the interior of a car.

JOLED is also raising 5 billion yen each from Panasonic, Sony, Sumitomo Chemical and Screen Holdings. It plans to use a halted Japan Display plant in Ishikawa Prefecture for mass production.

JOLED announced last fall plans to raise 100 billion yen. It is in talks with materials makers and trading houses in Japan and abroad for the other 50 billion yen.

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