March 31 (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp 6502.T has decided to withdraw from overseas liquid crystal display (LCD) panel production and sell its Singapore plant to Taiwanese firm AU Optronics Corp for an estimated 10 billion yen ($108 million), the Nikkei daily reported.
Toshiba Mobile Display Co is expected to reach a basic agreement with AU Optronics as early as Wednesday to sell its Singaporean production subsidiary AFPD Pte -- whose monthly output capacity of 45,000 panels accounts for about 30 percent of Toshiba Mobile’s overall capacity, the Nikkei said.
Following the sale, Toshiba Mobile will aim at focusing on panels for multifunction mobile phones and automobile-use displays and raise the utilization rates of its Japanese plants, the daily said.
The firm had already closed two money-losing plants in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, and decided to sell old production facilities to a Chinese company, the Nikkei said.
The selling of the Singapore unit will leave the Toshiba group with two LCD plants that manufacture only small and midsize panels: one in Kawakita, Ishikawa Prefecture, and the other in Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture, the Nikkei said.
Toshiba Mobile is bracing for an operating loss of 28 billion yen in the year ending Wednesday, with sales declining an estimated 18 percent to 210 billion yen, the daily added.
The sale of the plant in Singapore is in line with Toshiba’s efforts to restructure money-losing operations and concentrate resources in its semiconductor and nuclear power businesses, the daily said.
The purchase will help AU Optronics bolster output of small and midsize LCD panels.
The company is expected to take over the clean room and equipment at the Singapore plant and take on 900 or so employees, the Nikkei added. ($1=92.52 Yen) (Reporting by Isheeta Sanghi in Bangalore; Editing by Unnikrishnan Nair)
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