The world’s largest maker of LCD panels, Samsung Electronics has announced plans to invest $2.21 billion to expand its eighth-generation liquid crystal display line.
Succeeding generations of plants are through to use larger glass substrates to cut LCD panels, thereby increasing output and decreasing manufacturing costs.
According to a regulatory filing by the company, it would spend the money on expanding facilities at its eighth-generation LCD production line, which is capable of producing panels for 46-inch and 52-inch televisions. Samsung makes LCD panels through a joint venture with Japan-based Sony. The joint venture, S-LCD, produces panels between 40 and 50 inches at its seventh- and eighth-generation lines.
Samsung and Sony jointly invested approximately $1.9 billion in the eighth-generation line, which began shipping panels for large-size flat-screen televisions in August this year.
The South Korean company also said that the flat-screen TV market in the 50-inch and above segment is expected to rise 65% a year on average over the next three years. The joint venture’s eighth-generation line, called 8-1 line, currently has the capacity to make 50,000 glass sheets a month, measuring 2,200mm x 2,500mm, from which it can cut eight 46-inch TV panels or six 52-inch TV panels.
The new facility is expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2008. The company also claimed that after the expansion, the monthly capacity at the 8-1 line will rise to 110,000 units by the end of 2008.
Samsung’s competitor Sharp announced plans to invest more than $3 billion in July 2007 to build an LCD plant using what it calls the industry’s first 10th-generation technology.
Source: ComputerWire daily updates