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Thursday, October 20, 2005
Samsung Eyes Joint Investment With Sony in New LCD Factory

Samsung, the world's second-largest maker of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, is considering a joint investment plan with Sony to build a new flat-panel plant, an executive said Thursday.

Samsung plans to build the new factory to produce "eighth generation" LCD panels in anticipation of rising demand for larger LCD televisions. No construction deadline has yet been decided,

Since April this year, a US$2 billion joint venture in South Korea formed by Samsung and Sony began mass producing "seventh generation" LCDs and the venture's 7-1 plant started generating profit from September, Lee Sang-wan, president of Samsung's LCD business division, told a press conference.

Succeeding generations of LCDs allow manufacturers to produce bigger panels at a lower cost.

"Sony will obviously need larger-sized panels, given the upward pace of its LCD TV business in the United States," Lee said on the sidelines of a flat panel display forum.

"So, further cooperation (with Sony) in the eighth-generation plant is possible."

No official agreement with Sony has been made so far but the Japanese company is now at the level of positive consideration, Lee said.

In addition, Samsung is planning to build an LCD plant in eastern Europe from early next year to avoid a tariff barrier on LCD panels from 2007, the executive said.

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