Hitachi, Matsushita, Toshiba announce LCD panel alliance

September 1, 2004 – Hitachi Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., and Toshiba Corp. said that they will jointly produce LCD panels for flat-panel TVs, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun America Inc. This joint venture will build a plant at Hitachi Displays Ltd.’s site in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture, at an estimated cost of around 110 billion yen.

The new plant is expected to start making LCD panels using sixth-generation glass substrates sometime between April and June of 2006. Its output is forecast to reach the equivalent of 2.5 million 32-inch LCD panels in 2008.

The consumer electronics giants will establish in January an LCD panel joint venture with a capitalization of 60-70 billion yen. Hitachi is expected to contribute 50% of the capital, with Matsushita and Toshiba each chipping in 15 billion yen. An interest of up to 5 billion yen may be held by LCD panel production equipment makers.

Measuring 180 x 150cm, sixth-generation glass substrates are big enough to make eight 32-inch panels apiece. Their 4.5-generation counterparts, now used at Hitachi Displays’ Mobara plant, can produce only two 32-inch panels apiece because they measure just 92 x 73cm.

“The new joint venture will focus on 26- and 32-inch LCD panels and work toward securing slightly more than 20% shares in the respective markets,” Hitachi president Etsuhiko Shoyama told a news conference Tuesday.

The alliance will not cover flat-panel TVs with screen sizes of 40 inches and larger because Hitachi and Matsushita aim to focus on plasma TVs for that market sector, while Toshiba is working toward selling products based on technology it is developing with Canon Inc.

Each of the three partners in the LCD panel venture is required to purchase certain proportions of the plant’s output under their agreement.


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