Sony, Samsung to further raise LCD production

Sony, Samsung to further raise LCD production

S-LCD, the LCD panel production joint venture of Sony and Samsung, plans to further expand production at its factory in South Korea, it said Wednesday.

S-LCD Corp, the LCD panel production joint venture of Sony and Samsung Electronics, plans to invest a further $US237 million to expand production at its factory in Tangjeong, South Korea.

S-LCD began commercial operations last year and the large-screen panels it makes are supplied to Sony and Samsung for use in flat-panel televisions.

The announcement comes even though a previously announced expansion of the factory is yet to be completed.

Present monthly capacity at the plant is 60,000 sheets of LCD mother glass per month. Mother glass is the name given to large sheets of glass from which several LCD panels can be made. The glass in use at the S-LCD plant measures 1.87 meters by 2.2 m, and can produce eight 40-inch panels or six 46-inch panels.

The first stage of expansion, which was announced last year, is intended to raise production capacity to 75,000 sheets per month by July. The expansion announced Wednesday will push this to 90,000 panels per month by around February 2007.

A second factory is also planned for the site and represents a $US2 billion investment by the companies. Plans for the new plant were announced about a week ago and it is expected to be in operation in the latter part of 2007.

"If the plant can start by August [2007] then it will be in time for the Christmas 2007 sales season," said Sony Executive Deputy President Katsumi Ihara, speaking on the sidelines of a Tokyo flat-panel display conference on Wednesday.

But even the additional capacity at S-LCD might not be enough. The output from S-LCD, which is split evenly between Sony and Samsung, will likely be less than the anticipated demand for Sony's LCD TVs, and the company may work with other flat-panel makers as well, Ihara said.

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