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Energy Conversion Signs Agreements With Canon of Japan

May 20, 1987

TROY, Mich. (AP) _ Japanese camera and copier maker Canon Inc. is buying a stake in Energy Conversion Devices Inc. and plans to manufacture products in the United States with ECD as part of a joint venture, ECD announced Tuesday.

ECD makes solar cells, batteries, copier drums and other high technology products, and is working to develop new products in the field of superconductors .

As part of the deal, ECD is granting Canon exclusive license to its electrophotographic technology in return for $5 million credit against more than $10 million in Canon loans to the company. ECD also is selling Canon 371,905 shares of its common stock for $2 million in cash and $5.8 million in credit against the loans.

In the past, ECD has licensed its technology to Canon and other large companies like IBM and Sony Corp., in return for royalties.

The company’s president, Stanford Ovshinsky, said the deal with Canon will help strenghten Troy-based ECD, which reported a net loss of $27.9 million in fiscal 1986, and a loss of $20.7 million in the first three quarters of its current year.

Ovshinsky pioneered the technology of ″ovonics,″ named for him, which involves the use of synthetic materials that replace crystals, the foundation of electronics technology.

The molecules of these ″amorphous materials″ are arranged randomly, and not in the ordered fashion of crystals.

Though the technology has caught on with some scientists and multinational companies, few of ECD’s products have reached the market and those that have, have found little success.

″With these agreements, Canon has shown its commitment to working with ECD in the field of amorphous technologies,″ said Ryuzaburo Kaku, Canon’s president.

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