Struggling Apple display maker loses key investors

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iPhone XR test
Japan Display makes LCD displays for the iPhone XR.
Photo: Apple

Struggling Apple display maker Japan Display has received some bad news. TPK Holdings, a panel maker that also works with Apple, revealed that it won’t invest a proposed $230 million after all.

Japan Display has been on the search for companies willing to throw it a lifeline. TPK was part of a hoped-for $723 million bailout.

Japan Display has also said that it has yet to receive confirmation of funds from Cosgrove Global and Topnotch Corporate. Cosgrove and Topnotch were part of a consortium with designs on bailing out the Japanese display maker. Together, they were set to pay $130 million in exchange for a part of the business.

According to Reuters, “Harvest Group and new consortium member Oasis Management Company will decide whether to invest by June 27, Japan Display said.”

Japan Display’s share price fell 11% in Tokyo morning trading as a result.

Japan Display’s struggles

Japan Display has been working with Apple for several years. However, multiple factors hurt the company, including not embracing OLED technology sooner. As smartphone makers increasingly adopt OLED, sticking with LCD hurt Japan Display. Diminishing iPhone orders also reportedly affected the company’s bottom line adversely.

Japan Display’s CTO Kazutaka Nagaok recently said the company must find other ways to bring in money if it wants to survive. As a result, it shifted 1/3 of its research staff to work on developing smart sensors in 2018.

Fortunately for the company, its OLED research, while lagging behind rivals, is paying off. Japan Display will reportedly supply OLED screens for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 5. This will be its first foray into OLED screens. So long as nothing else bad affects the company before then, that is!