Panasonic to build fifth and largest plasma TV plant

By Sarah Falson

OSAKA, JAPAN: The joint venture between Panasonic’s parent-company, Matsushita, and diversified chemic group, Toray Industries, called MPDP, announced plans to build a new plasma display panel manufacturing plant in Japan.

The fifth plasma display panel (PDP) plant owned by the joint company — Matsushita PDP Company Ltd – will commence construction in May and plasma production will begin three months later in July.

According to a statement posted on Panasonic’s Japanese website, the new facility along with the existing plants will give Panasonic the largest PDP production capacity of any plasma manufacturer in the world.

“With an investment of 180 billion yen, the world’s largest PDP plant will be situated next to MPDP’s third PDP plant in Amagasaki, Japan. The new plant will have a production capacity of 6 million panels per year (calculated on the basis of 42-inch screen-size panels),” the statement said.
“When it reaches its full capacity by March 2009, Panasonic’s total PDP output will be lifted to 11.1 million panels per year. The three other MPDP plants are situated in Ibaraki and Amagasaki, with two plants at the former location.

“Panasonic runs Shanghai Matsushita Plasma Display Co., Ltd. in China. The sheer size of its new production capacity reinforces Panasonic’s leadership in the global flat-panel TV market,” said the statement.

According to Panasonic Australia CEG director, Paul Reid, the development of the new PDP plant will proect Panasonic’s position as a leader in plasma technology.

“The development of this fifth PDP manufacturing plant in Amagasaki, Japan will further cement Panasonic’s position as the global leader in Plasma technology with unparalleled capacity to meet worldwide demand,” he said.

“Panasonic Viera plasma televisions are the ideal solution for high definition big screen viewing and with demand for large screen flat-panel televisions growing very rapidly, Panasonic is ideally positioned to continue our rapid growth in this exciting and dynamic market.”

The news of the new plant coincides with a report from Bloomberg that Matsushita plans to close four production and development bases in its home appliance and air conditioner units to improve profit margins.

According to Bloomberg, the company will close a refrigerator condenser plant, a dishwasher factory, a home equipment developer and an air-conditioning system plant by September this year, affecting 1,700 employees, who will be relocated to other parts of the company.

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