IMI, Japanese firm team up to produce touch sensors

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A SUBSIDIARY of Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI) has partnered with one of the largest printing firms in Japan for the development of “game-changing” touch sensors.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Tuesday, the Ayala-led manufacturer said subsidiary VIA optronics GmbH have formed a new joint venture company with Toppan Printing Co. Ltd.

Under the deal, 65% of the shares of Toppan Touch Panel Products Co. Ltd., a newly formed spin off company, will be transferred to VIA. The joint venture firm will be VTS-Touchsensor Co. Ltd.

VTS will develop and manufacture the metal mesh touch sensors in Japan within the existing facilities of Toppan, while leveraging VIA optronics’ knowledge and experience of market requirements, system-level design, and production in the automotive, consumer and industrial markets to support further development of the core sensor technology.

“Using the experience of both companies, VTS will provide game-changing metal mesh touch sensors to their existing and future customer base,” VIA optronics CEO Juergen Eichner was quoted in a statement as saying.

“The new setup will also strengthen VIA’s portfolio of differentiated and value-added sensor technology for touch panels, touch display modules, display head assemblies and interactive display systems across multiple markets and segments.”

The two companies pledged to grow the business in all market segments, expand the touch sensor production line capacity of VTS and continuously develop the technology itself.

VIA optronics is a leading supplier of interactive display solutions with core competencies in optical bonding for sunlight readability and robustness as well as high performing touch display modules.

The company serves multiple touch-display applications in consumer electronics, automotive and industrial markets.

IMI acquired a 76% stake in VIA optronics in 2016 for €47.8 million (around P2.56 billion).

New acquisitions and the expansion of its automotive and industrial business pushed IMI’s earnings by more than a fifth to $34.44 million last year from $28.02 million in 2016.

IMI shares slipped 20 centavos or 1.16% to end at P17 each on Tuesday. — Krista Angela M. Montealegre