Hitachi, Matsushita, Toshiba cement LCD venture plan

Hitachi, Hitachi Displays, Matsushita Electric and Toshiba have completed their joint venture agreement to establish a company to make and sell LCD panels.

The new company, PS Alpha Technology, will begin operating on January 1, 2005, the companies said.

A preliminary agreement to build a production line at the Mobara factory of Hitachi Displays in Chiba, east of Tokyo, was announced on August 31.

PS Alpha Technology will make LCD panels of 23 inches and above for flat-panel TVs. Production will reach a maximum output of 2.5 million 32-inch units per year from late 2008 to early 2009, according to projections.

The announcement of the new venture came a day after two of the partners said they were stopping production of large-screen cathode ray picture tubes at a joint-venture plant in New York.

Matsushita Toshiba Picture Display said it would stop production at its plant because of the availability of cheap CRTs from Asia and a shift in tastes among US consumers for large, flat-panel plasma display panel (PDP) or LCD screens or sets based on rear-projection technology.

The plant produced 950,000 CRTs in 2003. In its last fiscal year, which ended in March, it recorded sales of $US250.4 million and a net loss of $US109.2 million, according to figures from Matsushita. The factory and associated office employs about 800 people.

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