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Nikon Forms New LCD Photomask Business

With an eye toward future profits in all kinds of electronic devices, Nikon is getting into the LCD photomask business. The company will make glass substrates for LCD and semiconductor needs, and a new business has been set up to do just that. The business will operate out of an existing factory in Kanagawa prefecture.

Photomasks themselves are one step in the process of making LCDs and semiconductors, transferring circuit patterns to make the kinds of displays found in larger devices like widescreen televisions.

The announcement comes amid hopes that the photomask market will rebound from a disappointing 2006. Nikon, anticipating better times ahead, aims to clear 7 billion yen in sales by 2010. Shin-Etsu Chemical is the dominant force in the industry, accounting for more than 50 percent of sales.

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