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Nippon Sheet Glass to Withdraw from LCD TV Glass Biz

Tokyo, Feb 26, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Nippon Sheet Glass Co. <5202> is set to pull the plug on the production of liquid crystal display glass substrates for television panels by selling its entire stake in a fifty-fifty joint venture with Hoya Corp. <7741> to a U.S. buyout fund, it was learned Tuesday.

Leading optical glass maker Hoya, meanwhile, is expected to sell only a small portion of its shareholdings in the joint company, NH Techno Glass Corp., to the fund, the Carlyle Group, informed sources said. Hoya will continue to hold the rest of the stake, according to the sources.

The U.S. fund is expected to pay 100 billion to 150 billion yen in total for the share acquisition, the sources said.

Yokohama-based NH Techno Glass was established in 1991.

Nippon Sheet Glass has been looking for a buyer for its NH Techno Glass stake since late November 2007 as the firm is trying to reduce its interest-bearing debts, which increased sharply following its acquisition of major British sheet glass maker Pilkington Group Ltd. in 2006.

After the planned withdrawal from the LCD substrate business, Nippon Sheet Glass intends to concentrate its management resources on its core automotive glass business, the sources said.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Nippon Sheet Glass said that the company is studying a possibility of selling its NH Techno Glass stake. But the firm added that no decision has been made on the matter.

At present, the global market for LCD glass for TVs has four major players--industry leader Corning Inc. of the United States plus three Japanese firms, Asahi Glass Co. <5201>, Nippon Electric Glass Co. <5214> and NH Techno Glass.

NH Techno Glass is the smallest of the four, having a market share of only several percents.

NH Techno Glass is set to make efforts to raise its corporate value after it comes under the wing of the Carlyle Group, aiming to going public in the future, the sources said.

By Jiji Press, (c) Jiji Press

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