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Tue, Mar 09, 2004 - Page 12 News List

Fujitsu to construct new factory

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Fujitsu Hitachi Display Ltd, the world's biggest maker of plasma display panels for televisions, is expanding production as early as next year, the company said.

Fujitsu Hitachi will spend ?75 billion (US$669 million) on a new factory in Miyazaki, southern Japan, which will have a monthly capacity of 150,000 panels, the Kanagawa, Japan-based company said in statement.

Fujitsu Hitachi and rivals such as Pioneer Corp are expanding capacity to keep pace with growing demand for flat-panel displays. Sales of plasma displays will more than double to US$5.8 billion in 2006 from US$2.7 billion this year, according to market researcher DisplaySearch.

Pioneer is set to become the world's second-largest maker of plasma displays after it buys NEC Corp's business later this year. Tokyo-based Pioneer last month sold ?60 billion of convertible bonds to help pay for the business.

Fujitsu Ltd and Hitachi Ltd each own a 50 percent stake in Fujitsu Hitachi.

Separately, Samsung Electronics Co, the world's second-biggest semiconductor maker, said it will jointly spend 2.1 trillion won (US$1.8 billion) with Sony Corp to build liquid crystal displays for televisions and computer screens.

Samsung Electronics will hold a majority stake in the venture, called S-LCD Corp, by having two more shares than Sony, Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics said in a regulatory filing.

Aiming to become the world's largest maker of liquid crystal displays, or LCDs, the venture involves the construction of a so-called seventh-generation plant able cut display panels more efficiently, the statement said.

As consumers replace bulky glass-tube TVs and monitors for flat-panel models, the market for LCDs measuring more than 10 inches diagonally will grow 23 percent annually through 2007 to US$48.8 billion, according to researcher DisplaySearch.

Tokyo-based Sony, the world's second-biggest consumer electronics maker after Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, said in October it would revamp its television business by entering a venture with Samsung, the world's largest maker of liquid crystal displays.

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