* Toshiba to buy out LCD joint venture with Panasonic
* Toshiba to pay about $20 mln for Panasonic’s 40 pct stake
* Toshiba shares up 5.9 pct before news,Panasonic up 1.2 pct
TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) - Toshiba Corp (6502.T) said it would buy out its liquid crystal display (LCD) joint venture with Panasonic Corp (6752.T) for about 2 billion yen ($20.3 million), aiming to speed up decision-making and restructuring to turn around the loss-making venture.
Toshiba will buy Panasonic’s 40 percent stake in Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology, which is the world’s second-largest maker of small and midsized LCD panels used in cellphones, car navigation systems and other devices.
Toshiba, which expects to have fallen into its worst-ever annual loss in the year ended last month, said the move is part of its restructuring measures to cut 300 billion yen in costs in the current business year.
Hit by falling prices and sluggish demand, Toshiba Matsushita Display is expected to post an operating loss of 30 billion yen on sales of 270 billion yen last business year.
For Panasonic, the deal should allow the world’s top maker of plasma TVs to focus more resources on large displays, though it will still hold 25 percent in another small and midsized LCD venture majority-owned by Hitachi Ltd (6501.T).
After making the venture wholly owned and changing its name to Toshiba Mobile Display Co, Toshiba plans to focus on displays using organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology, it said.
Before the announcement, Toshiba shares closed up 5.9 percent at 269 yen and Panasonic finished 1.2 percent higher at 1,082 yen. The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 gained 3 percent. (Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Chris Gallagher)