FRANKFURT, Sept 6 Osram plans to use
some funds it had earmarked for an LED factory to make chips for
iris-scanning technology instead, banking on demand from the
makers of smartphones and virtual reality systems, a person
familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Osram plans to invest at least 100 million euros ($112
million) at its German plant in Regensburg, where it makes the
chips, the source said, adding no formal decision had been made.
Osram declined to comment.
South Korea's Samsung is among the first
smartphone makers using iris-scanning technology in its new
flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, which it has just recalled
after battery fires. There is speculation rival Apple
will offer similar features in future models as well.
A shift of investments away from the light-emitting diode
(LED) semiconductor factory in Malaysia to operations elsewhere
could be seen as a concession to investors who were dismayed
when Osram announced the billion-euro investment in Asia last
German daily Handelsblatt reported earlier on Tuesday that
Osram would use money earmarked for the LED chip factory to make
premium products in both Regensburg and Wuxi, China.
($1 = 0.8963 euros)
(Reporting by Irene Preisinger; Writing by Maria Sheahan;
Editing by Sabine Wollrab and Mark Potter)