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Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Sony May Invest More in Samsung LCD JV


Sony may boost investment in its liquid-crystal display joint venture with South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a spokesman for the Japanese electronics maker said on Tuesday.

"Although we have yet to decide anything, (further investment) is a possibility," the spokesman said.

The joint LCD plant, S-LCD Corp., is expected to begin production next autumn with a capacity of 50,000 panels a month. The production line uses "eighth-generation" motherglass sheets, which measure approximately 2.2 by 2.5 metres.

Larger motherglass yields more panels, boosting productivity. Eighth-generation glass produces either six 50-inch television panels or eight 46-inch television panels.

S-LCD has helped Samsung leverage Sony's brand recognition to expand the market for larger television panels, while providing Sony with a stable panel supply.

Earlier this month Samsung said the global LCD market would be difficult in the first half of 2007, but predicted stronger demand and even a possible shortage in the second half.

The Sony spokesman's comments came after an interview published in the Nihon Keizai business daily on Tuesday in which Sony Executive Deputy President Katsumi Ihara was quoted as saying increased demand for large-screen televisions could prompt more investment in the venture.

"Depending on demand for large televisions, we could very well make further investments to boost our output," Ihara was quoted as saying.

Ihara also told the paper that Sony faces falling LCD TV prices in the key U.S. market, and that the LCD TV market in Japan could fall short of its expectations this year in terms of revenue due to steep price falls.


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