Au Optronics invests in clean energy, LCD modules

The LCD maker has formed an energy subsidiary

AU Optronics, the world's third largest make of LCD screens, is planning two new investments this year, one in solar panels and another in an LCD module venture in China.

The Taiwanese company plans to buy US$125 million in shares of Japanese polysilicon producer M.Setek for a majority share of the company, AU said in a statement Monday. The Japanese company produces basic materials for the solar panel industry.

AU has already established an energy subsidiary, AUO Energy Taiwan Corp., and dedicated research and development team for its new energy business. The venture will focus on renewable energy projects.

AU Optronics also on Monday announced an agreement to build a joint venture LCD module production plant in Sichuan, China, site of a major earthquake last summer that killed tens of thousands of people.

AU will partner with Sichuan Changhong Electric Co. on the venture, which will be called BVCH Optronics (Sichuan) Corporation. AU will hold a majority 51 percent share of the company, which will be capitalized at Chinese yuan 100 million (US$14.65 million).

The joint venture will produce screen modules for LCD monitors, LCD TVs, and other components, AU said.

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