ThinFilm pulls out of NFC tag market

In a statement released on  12th September Thin Film Electronics ASA  announced that its wholly owned USA subsidiary, Thin Film Electronics, Inc. has decided to pull out of the manufacture and supply of NFC tags and its related software platform.

‘While the management team is confident in the use of NFC technology for consumer engagement, brand protection and supply chain tracking in the long term, market adoption has been substantially slower than anticipated. This slower-than-expected growth rate of NFC tags on-package deployment has required the company to analyze the degree to which it should continue to invest in the development of this emerging market.  As a result, the decision has been made to transition away from the investment required to build the NFC market and proprietary CNECT software platform.’

At the same time the company has closed an ‘equipment term loan facility’ with Utica Leaseco, LLC for financing of up to $13.2 million, which is expected to fund in two tranches during the month of September 2019.  Thinfilm Inc has entered into a Master Lease Agreement with Utica.  The Thinfilm Group intends to use the proceeds from the loans for working capital to fund ongoing operations and to support its execution of strategic initiatives, it explained.

Thinfilm has been actively evaluating strategic alternatives to find new, compelling commercial applications for the San-Jose-based roll-to-roll printed dopant polysilicon (PDPS) line and believes there are opportunities to utilize the factory’s unique technology and the capabilities of its roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacturing plant.  The company expects to provide more information about these opportunities in future announcements.

The company will begin a process to pursue ‘monetizing’ its CNECT software platform and related NFC assets through potential licensing or sale of its related intellectual property.  Preliminary discussions have been initiated with potential partners. This allows management to focus on establishing a new path for the company, leveraging its years of significant investment in its R2R manufacturing and process technology capabilities, it states.

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The strategic shift to focus on the San Jose factory resulted in a reduction in work force in September 2019, relating to the employees focused on the software platform development and NFC go-to-market, it said.

Commenting Eef de Ferrante managing director of AIPIA said, “We are very sad to see Thinfilm leave the NFC stage as they have been pioneers in the development of connected packaging and have initiated many exciting applications for across all end user markets. We wish them success in their future endeavours and thank the company and staff for their contribution to A&IP.”

‘With more and more NFC enabled devices now available and the unit cost of tags coming down significantly, we believe that scalable deployment is both viable and desirable for Brand owners,” added de Ferrante.

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