Pending a final signed agreement between Corning and Samsung Display, the new equity venture is expected to be formed later this year, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals.
This newest venture will be an extension of a decades-long alliance between Samsung and Corning, and will leverage Corning’s LCD glass substrate technology and Samsung Display’s LCD display expertise. The new entity will supply LCD glass substrates to Samsung Suzhou LCD Co., Ltd. in China.
Corning and Samsung Display will authorize the new company to spend up to US$600 million to construct a new LCD glass substrate facility in the People’s Republic of China. The new company will make the investment in phases over the next few years as stages of the facility are constructed and brought online. With the support of the Wuxi municipal government, the new entity will be located in Wuxi New District, Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, in China. The manufacturing plant will have Gen 8 (2,200 x 2,500 mm) glass-melting and finishing capability. Construction of the facility will start by the end of 2012, with production expected to begin at the end of 2013, in time to meet demand for the start-up of Samsung Suzhou LCD.
Although new LCD glass capacity is being built in China, Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd. (SCP), an equity venture of Samsung and Corning, will be idling some of its LCD glass capacity in Korea. “As a market leader in the LCD glass industry, Corning has built a highly efficient worldwide supply network, which includes our equity venture companies, to meet customers’ needs,” said James P. Clappin, president of Corning Glass Technologies. “Shifting a portion of SCP’s capacity in Korea to this new facility in China will enable us to provide outstanding local supply in support of Samsung’s new panel-making operations there,” Clappin added.
Market research firm DisplaySearch said more than 44 million LCD TVs were shipped to retailers in China last year, and that the market should increase to over 56 million units in 2014.
“China’s LCD TV end market represents more than 20% of the worldwide total. Consequently, LCD panel manufacturers have been investing in China-based production,” said Donggun Park, executive vice president of Samsung Display and leader of the company’s LCD business. “Our new LCD glass venture with Corning will help enable Samsung Display to succeed in capturing a leading portion of this market through our new Samsung Suzhou LCD entity in China,” Park said.
“Corning and Samsung have had a long and successful collaboration in the display industry, dating back nearly 40 years to the early days of television,” said Wendell P. Weeks, Corning’s chairman, chief executive officer, and president. “The strength and success of our ties are built on Corning’s ability to develop and make high-technology glass with the key attributes that support Samsung’s businesses. Together, we have led the evolution of displays, from the high-growth years of CRT, to our current successful business supplying world-leading substrates for today’s high-definition LCD TVs, and now to the launch of this important new venture in China,” Weeks said.