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Roughly a year after the announcement of Liteon to acquire BenQ’s optical drive business, the joint-venture between Liteon and Philips-BenQ Digital Storage has been approved in the European Union. The newly formed company will be called Philips and Liteon Digital Solutions (PLDS) and will start operations in May.

“PLDS will be effective in Europe from 1st of May 2007. Lite-On

IT BV
, the European head office of Lite-On IT Corporation, will continue to provide the same service to its customers under the new flag of PLDS. The company will handle sales, marketing, service, finance and logistics of Optical Disc Drives (ODD). PLDS will continue to sell ODD under the brand names Lite-On and HP (under exclusive license from Hewlett-Packard),” a statement by Philips and Liteon Digital Solutions reads.

Last year it was reported that after getting BenQ’s optical disk drive (ODD) manufacturing capacities, Liteon will be able to produce 80 million of optical drives a year and command 26% - 27% of the global ODD market already in 2006. Liteon itself was able to produce 4-5 million ODDs a month, whereas BenQ had capacities to manufacture another 2 million, which means that newly-formed company could attain  capacity of 6-7 million ODDs a month.

“Combining strong R&D from Philips with Lite-On’s massive production capacity and extensive distribution network will make PLDS ready for the future,” the statement by PLDS claims.

For Liteon it was crucial to boost its manufacturing capacities and form ties with a strong research and development partner, as the ODD industry players tend to merge between themselves to be more competitive. In the recent years Nec and Sony formed Optiarc company, Hitachi and LG formed HLDS (Hitachi-LG Data Storage), and Toshiba created TSST (Toshiba-Samsung Storage Technology Corp.) joint-venture with Samsung Electronics.

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