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Plastic Logic raises $100 Mln for reading device

Plastic Logic Ltd., a British electronics company, raised $100 mln (€75.7 mln) to build the first factory that will make semiconductors out of plastic instead of silicon for use in displays in electronic reading devices.

The devices allow users to download newspapers or books electronically and read them in a form closer to paper than any other electronic product, Cambridge, England-based Plastic Logic said today in CNS statement. Oak Investment Partners and Tudor Investment Corp. led a group of financiers funding the project. Plastic Logic expects the annual market for mobile electronic readers to rise to more than 40 million units by 2010. The plant to be located in Dresden, eastern Germany, will initially be able to make some one million display modules when production is scheduled to start in 2008. The company was spun off from Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory in 2000. „Our displays will enable electronic reader products that are as comfortable and natural to read as paper whether you're on a beach, in a train or relaxing on the sofa at home,” said John Mills, chief operating officer at Plastic Logic. „The battery will last for thousands of pages so you can leave your charger at home.” The market for plastic electronics will reach $30 billion by 2015 and $250 billion by 2025, the company said, citing a study by IDTechEx.

Publishers including SanomaWSOY Oyj, the biggest media company in the Nordic region, have invested in freely distributed newspapers and online services to counter sputtering demand for their more traditional products. That helped bolster demand for newsprint in Europe by 3% in the first 11 months of last year, according to Brussels-based Cepiprint. In North America, demand for newsprint dropped 5% in the first nine months of 2006, papermaker UPM-Kymmene Oyj said in October, citing figures compiled by Montreal-based Pulp and Paper Products Council. „We still carry around enormous amounts of paper,” said Simon Jones, head of product development at Plastic Logic. „However, people are making less room in their lives for the weight and bulk of paper and are becoming more sensitive to the environmental impact of printing to read.” (Bloomberg)