February 14, 2019 / 6:14 AM / 5 days ago

Apple supplier Japan Display forecasts 5th straight year of losses

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan Display Inc said it expects to post its fifth straight year of net losses, with a late shift to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens and slowing iPhone sales costing it orders from Apple Inc, its biggest client.

The liquid crystal display (LCD) maker for smartphones, which gets more than half of its revenue from Apple, reversed its forecast for a profit for the year ending in March after reporting on Thursday a net loss of 1.3 billion yen for the October-December quarter.

The quarterly loss compares with the 17 billion yen average profit estimate of three analysts, according to Refinitiv data. For the full year, nine analysts had on average estimated a profit of 8.1 billion yen, the data showed.

The losses are making the company desperate for fresh cash, as previous, publicly funded bailouts have failed to help the company reduce its dependence on Apple or to accelerate a shift to OLED panels.

The company reiterated on Thursday it is in talks with multiple investors to bolster its finances and is aiming to reach an agreement soon.

Kyodo news agency reported that the company is in talks to receive up to 80 billion yen ($723 million) in a bailout from a group including Taiwanese touch panel maker TPK Holding Co and Chinese state-owned Silk Road Fund.

The deal, if realised, would make the group the top shareholder with up to 50 percent stake in the LCD maker, replacing the Japanese government-backed INCJ fund.

A Silk Road Fund representative said the fund “has never been in contact with” Japan Display.

Japan Display was formed in 2012 by combining the LCD businesses of Hitachi Ltd, Toshiba Corp and Sony Corp in a deal brokered by the government.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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