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Southwall Technologies and Mitsui Chemicals sign film products deal

California-based Southwall Technologies Inc., a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of thin-film coatings for the automotive glass, electronic display and architectural markets, has signed an …

California-based Southwall Technologies Inc., a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of thin-film coatings for the automotive glass, electronic display and architectural markets, has signed an exclusive agreement with Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. of Japan, a global manufacturer of high-performance optical filters and backlighting substrates for flat panel displays, to supply Mitsui with sputtered film products for Plasma Display Panel (PDP) and Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) applications. The deal is expected to be worth a minimum of USD 21 million. Under the terms of the deal, Southwall will supply certain proprietary sputtered film products to Mitsui Chemicals for its exclusive, worldwide use through 31 December 2006. Mitsui has an option to extend the agreement after that date. Based on current pricing and the minimum quantities required for purchase and delivery, the sales value for Southwall over the first two years of the deal is expected to be at least USD 21 million. Mitsui may also purchase other Southwall sputtered film products for use in automotive and architectural applications on a non-exclusive basis under the agreement. The optical films to be supplied by Southwall under the agreement have a number of important uses in flat panel displays. These include reducing ambient surface light reflection from the front of display screens, decreasing electronic and infrared emissions within displays, and increasing the brightness of LCDs through the enhancement of backlighting. “Mitsui Chemicals and Southwall Technologies have a long and productive history of working together,” said Mr. Akihide Kudoh, general manager, Information Materials Division, Functional Chemicals and Engineered Materials Business Group of Mitsui Chemicals. “We are very excited about the growth potential of the PDP and LCD display markets and view Southwall as an excellent strategic supply partner. Mitsui plans continued strong investment in these new display areas and has expectations of continuing its market leadership through the use of Southwall“s products.” “Mitsui Chemicals and Southwall are now aligned to effectively serve the rapidly growing needs of the flat panel display market,” said Mr. Thomas Hood, president and chief executive officer of Southwall Technologies. “This agreement recognizes and capitalizes on the strengths of both companies. We have worked closely with Mitsui for over 18 years and view this as an exciting opportunity. Continued strong demand in the PDP and LCD display markets, along with Southwall“s continued product innovation, has the potential to increase the expected value of the agreement significantly through the end of 2006. In addition to the display markets, we also expect this agreement to enhance our sales in the automotive and architectural markets in Japan.”

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