Nitto Denko to ease reliance on display business

OSAKA, Japan Tue May 27, 2014 8:33am EDT

OSAKA, Japan May 27 (Reuters) - Japan's Nitto Denko Corp , an Apple Inc supplier that makes industrial films and tapes, expects its reliance on volatile business in display screens to ease as it courts customers in autos and other industries, its chief executive said.

The maker of touch-panel films expects its optronics division, which supplies producers of screens for smartphones, tablets and TVs, to account for about half its total revenue in three years, down from 60 percent in its latest results, Nitto Denko President Hideo Takasaki said in an interview on Tuesday.

That would mean roughly flat sales for the screen sector, while the company's latest three-year business plan, announced this month, calls for annual growth of more than 10 percent to the auto sector.

"We'll maintain our number one position (in touch panel film)," Takasaki said, but added that autos offered a stable market.

Nitto Denko's shares lost nearly half their value in the final months of last year after the company twice cut its profit guidance, hit by a sudden downturn in its business with producers of mobile device displays. It had hit a seven-year high in September when it was added to the benchmark Nikkei average and was posting brisk earnings growth.

Takasaki said maintaining a high proportion of new products among its line-up would also help to smooth out some of the volatility in its business with electronics producers.

Nitto Denko sharply increased its capital spending last year to about 76 billion yen ($746.01 million), from levels around 30 billion to 50 billion yen in prior years, and plans to maintain that level under its three-year business plan. ($1 = 101.8750 Japanese Yen) (Reporting by Yoshiyuki Osada; Writing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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