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Struggling flat panel vendor Hitachi have been given a new lifeline following a decision by Canon to pump $403 million into buying a 25% stake in Hitachi Ltd. The move comes only weeks after Canon and Panasonic agreed in December to each buy 24.9% of Hitachi’s Display business.

Canon said it intends to turn the company, Hitachi Displays, Ltd., into its own unit by buying the remaining shares from Hitachi and Matsushita Electric Industrial, now trading as Panasonic  in the future.

Hitachi have lost over $1 Billion dollars competing in the flat panel TV market and in January 2008 they pulled out of the Australian market following claims that they had been selling 1080i plasma TV’s as Full HD 1080p screens. Also dragged into the controversy was Harvey Norman who openly advertised the Hitachi panels as being Australia’s first 1080p plasma TV.

Canon the world’s largest maker of digital camera who last year decided not to precede with the commercialisation of SED TV panels claims that they have made the investment  because currently they have buy LCD panels for its cameras, camcorders, copiers and printers from other vendors.
Canon’s decision to invest in Hitachi could result in the Company rolling out a series of specialised LCD TV’s and follows several other announcements in Japan this week ahead of the Japanese end of year financial reporting period.

The biggest being the decision by Sharp to invest a Billion dollars into a joint venture manufacturing plant to make Sony Bravia LCD TV’s. In response a source at Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said this week that Sony and Samsung were in the final stages of talks to jointly build a new LCD panel production line.
Currently the two Companies are shareholders in an LCD joint venture, S-LCD.

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