New Panasonic LCD Plant Eyes 2010 Completion

Matsushita—soon to take the name Panasonic, its best-known brand—announced last week in Tokyo that its LCD panels unit would build a $2.8 billion plant in western Japan by early 2010 and could start assembly-line production of LCD TV sets in about 23 months.

Matsushita/Panasonic said its new plant will incorporate its eighth generation of glass substrates (mega-sized glass plates from which TV panels are cut). The company is targeting an annual production output of up to 15 million units of 32-inch LCD panels. Construction of the new plant will take about 18 months, according to Reuters.

The plant will be built by a separate entity that is currently owned 30 percent by Panasonic (Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd), 50 percent by Hitachi Displays, and 15 percent by Toshiba. (Panasonic hopes to buy both Hitachi’s and Toshiba’s stakes before the plant is operational.)

While Panasonic is not currently among the top makers of LCD HD sets globally, it said it does produce the highest number of plasma screens.