Matsushita Electric Industrial (MEI) and Toshiba plan to merge their cathode ray tube (CRT) operations, the companies said yesterday. Matsushita separately announced further details of its reorganisation.
Matsushita, best known for its Panasonic brand name, and Toshiba plan to establish a CRT joint venture by the end of March, the end of the financial year in Japan. The new, yet to be named joint venture, will be held 60 per cent by Matsushita and 40 per cent by Toshiba. It will be headquartered in Osaka, where Matsushita is based.
The merged operations of the two companies will represent the third-largest CRT company in the world and will focus on display tubes for TVs.
CRTs are facing intense competition from LCDs (liquid crystal displays) and PDPs (plasma display panels.) More competition from new display technologies such as OELD (organic electroluminescence display) is on the horizon. Despite this, Matsushita and Toshiba estimate the global CRT market will see annual growth of 2 to 3 per cent.
"Considering advantages such as its cost and brightness, CRT is still one of the most important display devices," said Kunio Nakamura, president and chief executive officer of Matsushita.
This merger will result in Matsushita's and Toshiba's second display joint venture. The Japanese companies merged their LCD (liquid crystal display) divisions into Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology, in April this year. At this point, the two companies have no plan to merge other display units, such as PDP, Nakamura and Okamura said.