Panasonic and Toray to Build the World's Largest Plasma TV Plant with a Capacity of One Million Units per Month

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., best known for its Panasonic brand, and diversified chemical group Toray Industries, Inc. (Toray), have announced plans to build a new plasma display panel (PDP) manufacturing facility in Japan. It will be the fifth PDP plant of their joint venture, Matsushita PDP Company Ltd. (MPDP), enabling Panasonic to further step up its PDP production capacity, making it by far the largest PDP manufacturer in the world.

To leverage concentration of manufacturing facilities to its advantage, MPDP plans to build the new plant in Amagasaki, Japan near the existing fourth plant. The construction is scheduled to start in November 2007 and the first phase of the production in May 2009.

With an investment of approximately 280 billion yen, the fifth plant will have a monthly production capacity of one million units (calculated based on 42-inch panels)- the largest production capacity of PDP in the world. The investment efficiency of the new plant will be five times or greater than that of MPDP's first PDP plant. With its overwhelming production capacity and cost competitiveness, Panasonic will lead the world market of large-screen flat-panel displays.

By introducing the latest facilities as well as MPDP's leading-edge processing technologies and production systems, the new plant will realize as many as ten 42-inch panels, or eight 50-inch panels, from a single sheet of glass, the world's largest number of panels per sheet in PDP production. MPDP will implement a comprehensive production management scheme to cover all its factories to realize speedier and more flexible supply of the products. With the new plant, MPDP will further strengthen its supply system to meet an ever-increasing demand in the global market.

Panasonic forecasts that with the rapid increase of the demand for flat-panel TVs due to the global digitalization of TV broadcasts, 65% of the 200 million world aggregate demand for TVs will be for flat-panel TVs in 2010. Panasonic also forecasts that the demand for larger-screen TVs will increase rapidly with the expansion of contents with high picture quality and creation of smaller footprint flat-panel TVs, leading to over 30% of the world aggregate demand for TVs occupied by the 37-inch or larger flat-panel TVs in 2010. Further increase of the demand is expected in China and other BRICs countries where infrastructure for digital TV broadcasts will be developed, as well as in the biggest TV markets such as the U.S. and Europe.

The demand for PDPs with extended lifetime, energy-efficiency and high picture quality has also been increasing rapidly for business-use as multipurpose display for business, educational and medical applications as well as for home-use. As Panasonic anticipates that the world PDP market will grow to 30 million units in 2010 because of the superiority of PDP TVs to other flat-panel TVs in terms of production and cost efficiency as well as picture quality, Panasonic has decided to further expand its production capacity of PDP panels.

By positioning PDPs as one of their core businesses, Panasonic and Toray are committed to running MPDP jointly and making a significant contribution to the progress of the industry of new audiovisual equipment on a global scale.

Profile of New Plant
Name: Matsushita PDP Company Ltd. Fifth Plant
Location: Near the existing Amagasaki plant (under consideration)
Investment: Approximately 280 billion yen
(including plant construction and equipment cost)
President: Ken Morita
Senior Vice President, Panasonic AVC Networks Company
Executive Officer, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
Products: Plasma displays, plasma display modules and related products
Production Capacity: One million units per month
(calculated based on 42-inch panels)
Construction: Groundbreaking in November 2007
Production: Planned to commence in May 2009
Employees: T.B.D.
Floor Space: Approximately 284,000 square meters
Floors: Six stories and mid-stairs

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