Smartphones Help Boost Nitto Denko as TV Demand Slumps

Nitto Denko Corp., the world’s largest maker of optical films used in liquid-crystal display panels, said demand from smartphone manufacturers is helping it mask a slump in sales to television makers.

Sales increased in November at a similar pace to the 21 percent growth posted in October, President Yukio Nagira said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Osaka, Japan, yesterday. Precise November data, expected to be the seventh consecutive increase, will be announced tomorrow.

“The sales flow has been good, thanks to smartphones and tablet computers,” Nagira, 64, said.

Nitto Denko’s shares reached their highest level since June 2011 in Tokyo yesterday as manufacturers such as Apple Inc. boosted sales of smartphones, increasing the demand for optical films that help users input data with fingers into touch panels. The company, whose customers include Sony Corp. and Sharp Corp., also plans to expand its medical and industrial-tape businesses, Nagira said.

“There’s room for Nitto Denko to spur sales on rising demand for smartphones,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, a Tokyo-based analyst at Iwai Cosmo Holdings Inc. “The company manages to grow even when the environment isn’t good.”

Nitto Denko rose 0.7 percent to 4,335 yen yesterday, extending this year’s gain to 57 percent, compared with the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average’s 13 percent increase.

Smartphones Demand

The company, which will celebrate its 100-year anniversary in 2018, produces LCD optical films that also help in brighter and clearer images.

With consumers demanding more features from their phones, the number of smartphones in use globally crossed 1 billion for the first time in the third quarter and will double by 2015, Strategy Analytics said in October.

In contrast, global TV demand is expected to remain little changed in 2013 after shipments of all TV types declined more than 4 percent this year, according to researcher DisplaySearch. Japan’s deliveries plunged 77 percent in the second quarter, according to the researcher.

Sony, Panasonic Corp. and Sharp, Japan’s three-largest manufacturers of televisions, are all battling slumping demand and record losses. All three are customers of Nitto Denko, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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