Matsushita raises PDP output
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, the world's biggest consumer electronics maker, is raising output of plasma display panels (PDP) at a factory in western Japan ahead of schedule because of rising demand for flat-screen televisions.
Matsushita Plasma Display Panel Co, a venture with Toray Industries Inc, will raise output to 100,000 42-inch panels from this month at its factory in Ibaraki, Osaka, because of rising demand for large screens and the spread of digital broadcasting, it said yesterday.
Matsushita is seeking a bigger share of the global plasma display market, which may grow by a third to US$11 billion next year, according to an April forecast by researcher ISuppli Corp. Price cuts by panel makers are helping convince more consumers to switch to flat-panel televisions from older cathode-ray tube sets.
"Plasma display prices fell about 25 per cent in the past year," said Ken Morita, an executive at Osaka-based Matsushita's plasma display television division. "While these declines make business tougher, we're expecting prices to drop about the same amount this year."
Shares of Matsushita, which have gained 8.4 per cent this year, fell 2 yen to 1,606 yen (US$15.4) as of 3 pm in Tokyo.
The Ibaraki plant, which started production of 37-, 42- and 50-inch panels in April, was initially to have output raised to 80,000 units by April next year. Matsushita Plasma Display Panel now has monthly production capacity of 150,000 units at its two plants in Japan and one in Shanghai, the statement said.
Matsushita and Tokyo-based Toray in May said they would spend 95 billion yen (US$911 million) to build another plasma display factory in the western Japan city of Amagasaki, which will start production in November 2005. By March 2006, the companies plan to double total plasma display output to 2 million units a year, Matsushita said yesterday.
Matsushita, the maker of Panasonic-brand electronics, estimates global plasma display demand will reach 2.7 million units for the fiscal year ending March 2005 and will top 5 million units in the 12 months ending March 2006. The company forecasts the market will expand to about 12 million units in the year ending March 2009.
Matsushita forecasts its plasma display sales will more than double in the fiscal third quarter from the same period a year ago.
"We're sure to meet our October-December sales target of PDP units to grow about 2.4 times the previous year," said Tsutomu Ueda, an executive with the audio-visual division. "With the Christmas shopping season not over yet, we're looking to see how much we can surpass that target."
Japan's domestic consumer electronics shipments posted their biggest gain in almost 16 years in July as consumers bought flat-panel televisions and DVD recorders ahead of the Athens Olympics, industry group Japan Electronics & Information Technology Industries Association said in an August 26 report.
South Korea's LG Electronics Inc overtook Matsushita as the world's No 2 maker of plasma display panels in the quarter ended September 30, market researcher Displaybank said in a report on November 9.
LG's shipments of plasma displays increased 20 per cent from the second quarter, helping it increase global market share to 21.5 per cent from 19.6 per cent, the report said. Matsushita's share was unchanged at 21.1 per cent after shipments rose 9.2 per cent, the researcher said. Samsung SDI Co's market share rose to 24.1 per cent from 22.8 per cent.
(China Daily 12/17/2004 page11)
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