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Matsushita to Erect Largest Plasma Plant

Matsushita and Toray Industries said this week this week the companies would earmark $1.6 billion to build a fourth plasma display panel (PDP) plant to meet a global consumer demand for flat panels that appears to be accelerating. Currently, both firms manufacture flat panels at a joint facility.

The newly announced plant eventually will have the capacity of producing 6 million 42-inch panels annually, the firms said in a statement. That would make it among the world's largest plasma display factories, and the largest in Japan.

Construction is set to begin in late spring, with production scheduled to start by July 2007. The new facility will be located near Matsushita's flagship Amagasaki plant in Hyogo Prefecture, which is also a new operation that opened last September.

Matsushita, sells most of its product under the Panasonic brand, hopes to boost production efficiencies on-site by using the larger glass substrates, with more panels configured from each substrate.