Apple Inc has invested heavily in one of its OLED display panel suppliers, Japan Display. The Japanese company is currently undergoing a liquidity crisis that is threatening its very survival. Apple has reportedly stepped forward to bail the Japanese company out through faster payments for supplies and other adjustments. These details have emerged through a media interaction the new CEO of Japan Display has had. Apple has not been named by him, but it is implied.
Japan Display’s Financial Woes
Japan Display has been trying to firm up its finances and a consortium led by a Chinese investor Harvest, but the investors pulled out at the last minute. The company has a new CEO Minoru Kikuoka who is trying to raise funds from different sources. It is in this context that the CEO told the media that the immediate liquidity issues are being addressed through payments from customers for supplies of display panels being expedited ahead of the normal due dates. There was really no need for him to mention Apple by name since around two-thirds of the production from Japan Displays is meant only for Apple. With Apple expected to include the OLED display panels in all its models from next year, Japan Display can continue to be the key source for the US company.
Other Ways of Financing Japan Display
It is learned that Apple had made an investment of $900 million earlier in Japan Display for meeting the capital expenses of building a new manufacturing facility. This amount is being repaid by the Japanese company. It is also reported that Apple has agreed to slow down this repayment for a duration enabling the panel maker to regain breath. Meanwhile, Japan Display is also raising funds to the tune of $470 million following the withdrawal of the consortium as mentioned above. Of this amount, Apple alone may contribute around $200 million of the figure of $370 million indicated by the Japan Displays CEO. Another around $180 million is likely to come from a Hong Kong-based investor.
For the immediate future, Japan Display’s fortunes appear to be tied to the largesse from Apple Inc.