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Murata to Double Sensor Sales on Smartphones, Auto Demand

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Murata Manufacturing Co., a Japanese supplier to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., expects to double sensor sales in four years because of demand for more sophisticated cars and smartphones.

Sensor revenue will probably jump to about 75 billion yen ($806 million) in the year ending March 2016 from less than 40 billion yen last fiscal year, Vice President Satoshi Sonoda said in an interview yesterday at the company’s headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. The devices, which detect movement or pressure on devices and then generate an electronic signal, support features such as touchscreen mobile phones and in-car navigation systems.

Murata expects total electronic-component sales to carmakers to rise about 10 percent a year, about double the pace of growth in the global vehicle market, because of tighter safety and environmental standards, Sonoda said. The company announced three acquisitions this month to expand its lineup and speed up development.

The component maker will buy out Tokyo Denpa Co., which makes quartz-based products used in smartphones, in a stock swap, the two companies said in a joint statement today. Murata will also offer 300 yen a share to raise its stake in Toko Inc., a maker of power inductors, to 66.6 percent through a tender offer, Murata said separately.

Ultrasonic Sensor

Founded in 1944, Murata is also developing a new ultrasonic sensor that can detect human movements such as waving without users’ touching displays, Sonoda said. The company aims to start mass production of the sensor by the end of the year at the earliest, he said.

The company boosted its focus on automobiles last year by buying VTI Technologies Oy, a Finnish maker of vehicle sensors, for 20 billion yen, including debt.

The component maker fell 1.8 percent to 5,880 yen on the Osaka Securities Exchange. It has gained 16 percent this year, compared with an 8.2 percent advance for the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

Sensors account for about 7 percent of Murata’s total revenue. The company’s other products include components for power, sound and RFID.

To contact the reporters on this story: Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net; Masatsugu Horie in Osaka at mhorie3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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