According to Reuters, things have gotten so bad that Philips is rumored to be shopping its 32.9% stake. Sharp (OTCPK:SHCAY) and Matsushita Electric Industrial (MC-OLD) have been floated as possible buyers. Meanwhile, Toshiba (OTCPK:TOSBF) is partnering with LG.Philips in Poland.
Toshiba Corp.’s announcement on Tuesday follows its establishment last month of a liquid-crystal display TV production and sales company in Kobierzyce, near Wroclaw in southwestern Poland, where production is set to start in August 2007.
Japanese electronics manufacturer Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) makes LCD panels for TVs in a joint venture in South Korea with Samsung Electronics Co.
LG.Philips LCD Co. is a joint venture between LG Electronics, South Korea’s largest home appliance manufacturer, and Philips Electronics NV of the Netherlands. LG.Philips LCD, based in the South Korean capital Seoul, will retain a more than 80 percent stake in the Polish subsidiary, Tokyo-based Toshiba said in a statement.
Now let’s see if we can add this up: South Korea’s largest appliance maker and one of Europe’s largest electronics firms are unable to make money in today’s panel market, so they are adding one of Japan’s largest electronics firms as yet another partner in some markets. If that doesn’t work, two of Japan’s other large electronics firms may hop in to give it a go. At the same time, Korean giant Samsung and tottering world leader Sony have a JV of their own. Oh, and AU Optronics (NYSE:AUO) gobbled up Quanta display.
So with all of these industry-leading firms teaming up (and presumably controlling supply so as not to compete too fiercely), somehow they still build too much capacity and can’t earn a solid return on investment?
Unfortunately this is not a joke.