Samsung SDI is seeking to sell its Anisotropic Conductive Film (ACF) business, which is the core material for connecting display panels and electronic circuits.
According to industry sources on March 19th, Samsung SDI has been confirmed to have been involved in the sale of their ACF division. It has been reported that it has fully committed to the sale during the negotiations with the small company H and the mid-sized chemical company K. In the industry, Samsung SDI's ACF division estimates the annual sales at around KRW 15.0bn. The acquisition price is expected to be higher.
ACF is a key material that connects electronic circuits with display panels such as liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). It is composed of polymer resin, adhesive, and conductive particles for electrical signal transmission. The application field is wide, including smart phones, tablets, TVs, and laptops. Samsung SDI's ACF business is based on Cheil Industries' display materials. In the early 2000s, research and development (R & D) started at the Electronic Materials Research Institute and the sales began in 2004. After the merger of Samsung SDI and Cheil Industries' materials division in 2014, it has naturally been transferred.
An industry official said, "The Samsung SDI ACF business has a solid customer base as Samsung Display, so if you buy it, you can trade it properly," and added, "the acquisition price has jumped as various companies have entered the competition"
Due to the nature of the business, ACF needs a lot of resources to respond to customers and it is difficult to diversify the supply chain. It is difficult for Samsung to supply products to LG and LG to Samsung. This is why Samsung SDI is relinquishing its ACF business. Their sales volume is too small for Samsung SDI to directly operate such a business, and it is difficult to expand it.
The global ACF market is estimated at around KRW 300bn. In the early 2000s, Japanese companies such as Sony and Hitachi Kasei led the market. Now, Korea, Taiwan and China are major suppliers.