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Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Matsushita to Sell More Displays to Rivals

Matsushita plans to sell more of its plasma displays to other TV makers next year, a senior executive said on Tuesday, as it aims to boost display output and take market share from rivals.

Matsushita is the world's largest seller of plasma TVs through its Panasonic brand, but it trails Samsung SDI Co. Ltd. in panel shipments because its South Korean competitor sells more panels to other TV manufacturers.

"By bolstering our external sales of plasma panels, we aim to boost our competitive position in the display market," Masaaki Fujita, director of Matsushita's plasma television unit, said at the Reuters Asia Technology and Telecoms Summit in Tokyo.

"We currently supply a little more than 10 percent of our panels to other companies, but would like to see that percentage above 20 percent when our new plant at Amagasaki is up and running at full capacity next year," he added.

Fujita said the new factory in Hyogo prefecture, western Japan, would start production by the end of September. Matsushita had previously said the start could be in September or October.

The plant will initially boost its annual capacity to 3.5 million panels per year, a calculation based on 42-inch panels, but it will ramp up output at the factory in late 2006, lifting annual capacity to 5 million units.

Matsushita has two other factories in Osaka and one in Shanghai.

On pricing, Fujita said he expected the average price of Matsushita plasma TV sets to fall by about 20 to 25 percent in 2006, following an expected drop of about 25 percent this year.

Fujita said he expected the price of plasma TVs to drop to about 5,000 yen per inch by 2008, when the global market for plasma sets will have expanded to 12 million units, up from an estimated 5 million in 2005.

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