Web Date: April 8, 2008
Rohm And Haas Buys South Korea's Gracel Displays
In an effort to expand its investments in electronic flat-panel display materials, Rohm and Haas has acquired Seoul, South Korea-based Gracel Display for $40 million. The eight-year-old firm has about 55 employees who develop and manufacture organic light-emitting diode (OLED) materials.
Pierre R. Brondeau, executive vice president of Rohm and Haas, says Gracel fits within the firm's 2010 Vision initiative to speed investments in growth areas such as electronics, coatings, and performance materials. "OLED is a smart addition to our growing stable of display products." He adds that the technology puts the company "in a great position to lead the industry in a new generation of ultra-thin, crystal-clear displays."
During the past twelve months, Rohm and Haas has invested more than $270 million to build a flat-panel display technologies business unit. In June 2007, it bought Eastman Kodak's business in light management films, used to improve the brightness and efficiency of liquid-crystal displays. At the end of last year, the firm bought a 51% stake in the displays business of SKC, a South Korean maker of films including light-diffuser films, optical protection films, and technology for touch panels.
But while Rohm and Haas is building muscle in one area of its electronic chemicals portfolio, it is changing its focus in another. On April 4 it agreed to sell its 40% stake in South Korea's UP Chemical for $112 million to a group of South Korean investors led by Woori Financial Group. UP is a specialist in dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) and high-k gate dielectric precursor technology used to make semiconductors. In 1998, Rohm and Haas bought its stake in UP for $3.5 million.
Rohm and Haas says UP Chemical was a good strategic partner during the very early development stages of atomic layer deposition for semiconductor manufacturing. Rohm and Haas continues its interest in the area through a licensing agreement signed last year with Harvard University for next-generation amidinate compounds to be used in advanced semiconductors.
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