Japanese firms Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Toray Industries Inc. will invest a combined 90 billion yen (approx. U.S. $785.9 million) to build the world's biggest plasma display panel (PDP) factory, a newspaper said.
Japanese and South Korean electronics makers have been jostling to boost plasma display production and secure a larger share of the flat-panel television market, which analysts expect to grow rapidly over the next several years.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily newspaper said Matsushita Plasma Display Panel (PDP) Co, owned 75 percent by electronics maker Matsushita and 25 percent by synthetic fiber giant Toray, will begin construction of the plant this summer and start production in the second half of 2005.
The plant will be located in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, in western Japan. Production will start at 100,000 panels per month in 2005 and expand to 250,000 panels in 2007, quadrupling the company's total monthly output to 380,000 panels, the newspaper said. The plant's annual capacity in 2007 of 3 million panels would make it the world's largest, it added.
No one at Matsushita was immediately available for comment, but a spokesman at Toray said the two companies have been planning to raise production of PDPs, given that sales of flat-panel televisions continue to soar.
"We are at the point where we are planning to boost production, but the two companies have not made an official decision so I cannot comment at this time on the contents of this newspaper report," said Ichiro Maeda, Toray spokesman.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said the 90-billion yen investment would be split according to each company's stake in Matsushita PDP. (Reuters)
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