Sony, Epson in Talks in LCD Alliance

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Sony and Seiko Epson have begun discussions on an alliance in the area of small and medium-sized LCDs such as those for cell phones and handheld devices, they said Thursday.

The alliance, which could see some of Epson's business transferred to Sony, comes as both companies are restructuring and reorganizing parts of their LCD businesses. On Wednesday Epson said it would close one of its two domestic LCD factories.

An alliance between the two companies would enable Epson Imaging to see its amorphous silicon TFT (thin-film transistor) technology more fully utilized while Sony could gain access to some of Epson's technology for screens developed by its Sony Mobile Display unit, they said.

The two companies said they hope to have an agreement signed by the end of June.

Both companies expect losses this year. Epson is forecasting a net loss of ¥100 billion (US$1 billion) while Sony expects a net loss of ¥150 billion.

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