Pioneer Corporation has announced that it decided to cease the current mass production business of optical discs such as DVDs, at the Tatomi Plant of Pioneer Video Corporation (PVC), Yamanashi, Japan, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pioneer, by the end of March 2003 and to construct a new plasma display panel (PDP) production line to satisfy the ever growing demand for plasma displays.
This shift is in line with the "business selection and concentration" policy of Pioneer to enhance its competitiveness and promote more efficient management. There are no plans to reduce personnel as a result of these changes. The semiconductor business at the PVC's Kokubo Plant will continue as before.
Although Pioneer is ceasing the production of DVD-R/RW and other recordable discs towards the end of March 2003, it will remain proactive in its sales and marketing of Pioneer-branded DVD-R/RW recordable discs and will continue its commitment to further widespread the DVD-R and DVD-RW formats in the expanding recordable DVD markets.
As for the R&D in the area of future recordable discs, Pioneer will cooperate with other disc manufacturers. It has already succeeded to develop jointly with TDK a recordable optical disc format highly compatible with the Blu-ray Disc format. Pioneer and TDK also have mutually agreed to further pursue joint R&D of future DVD-RW discs.
Pioneer aims to start construction of the new PDP production line in spring 2003 and start operations in spring 2005. Although details of the new PDP production line (the 4th production line at Pioneer) have yet to be decided, its capacity is expected to be between 250,000 and 300,000 units per year. At present, Pioneer produces 50,000 units at the Tatomi Plant (the 1st production line) and 100,000 units at the Shizuoka Plant (the 2nd production line), both operated by Shizuoka Pioneer Corporation, another wholly-owned subsidiary of Pioneer, for a total of 150,000 units per annum. As announced on July 1, 2002, a 3rd production line is currently under construction at the Shizuoka Plant and is scheduled to produce 100,000 units annually when it becomes operational in September 2003. When the 4th line is complete, Pioneer's total annual production capacity will exceed 500,000 units.
The amount of investment and other details of the 4th PDP production line will be announced at a later date.
The expenses associated with this conversion of business at the PVC's Tatomi Plant (excluding the expenses of constructing the 4th production line) will be absorbed in the consolidated budget of expenses for the current fiscal year, ending March 2003, and Pioneer's consolidated annual forecast for this fiscal year remains unchanged.