This investment will be used to fund the second phase of the Taichung facility. The investment for the first phase of Taichung was approved in July of this year.
This new, second phase of the Taichung facility will add significantly to the plant's large-size glass substrate capacity. Initial manufacturing from this second phase is projected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2005, with production continuing to come online through 2006.
The Taichung facility will ultimately manufacture Generation 5.5, Generation 6 and larger glass substrates, suited to meet the anticipated demand for desktop monitors and the emerging LCD television market.
"We are continuing to quickly develop the Taichung facility in order to keep pace with the projected demand of the LCD industry, particularly in Taiwan. As an industry leader, Corning is focused on being prepared to provide customers with a reliable supply of the highest-quality glass substrates," said Donald B. McNaughton, senior vice president, Display. "However, we will phase the timing of production lines within the Taichung facility in accordance with customer supply agreements."
Today's announcement represents Corning's fourth major LCD capital expansion in the past 18 months. Previous announcements include:
-- July 2004: $750 million, primarily for the new LCD manufacturing facility in Taichung, Taiwan
-- February 2004: $600 million for the expansions of the Tainan, Taiwan and Shizuoka, Japan LCD glass manufacturing facilities
-- July 2003: $180 million for the expansion of the Tainan, Taiwan facility
Previously, Corning announced that it had increased its estimate of capital spending for 2004 to $950 million to $1 billion. This year's portion of today's $326 million announcement is included in that capital spending plan.
As previously forecast, Corning expects LCD glass market volume to grow between 40 and 60 percent annually through 2006, although growth could be less in any given quarter and the pace of growth may be subject to a number of factors, including retail pricing and the level of inventory at various points within the supply chain. This market growth is expected to be driven by the increasing demand for notebook computers, LCD monitors, LCD televisions and smaller LCD applications.
The expansion of the Tainan facility and the development of the Taichung facility create extensive job opportunities in Taiwan for talented engineers and direct labor employees.