By Chris Nicholls

TOKYO: Sony has apparently confirmed their agreement with Sharp to source LCD panels larger than 40-inch, saying they would fund one third of Sharp’s new LCD television plant construction costs as part of the deal.

Reported in the Asahi newspaper in Japan, Sony will apparently foot a bill of over AU$1billion, while Sharp will contribute the remaining AU$2.8 billion to their new factory, due to be completed in mid-2009 and set to begin production in 2010.

The two companies are expected to announce further details at a press conference in Tokyo later this afternoon.

Sony has, until now, sourced most of its panels from Samsung. Various reports have speculated Sony will continue to source smaller panels from Samsung, but also raised the possibility the current corruption scandal facing Samsung in its home country of Korea, as well as increasing price competition worldwide, prompted Sony’s decision.