Panasonic and Toray to Build World's Largest PDP Plant in Japan

Market leader in plasma display TVs, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., best known for its Panasonic brand products, and diversified chemical group Toray Industries, Inc. today announced that their joint venture company, Matsushita Plasma Display Panel Company Ltd. (MPDP), will reinforce its PDP (Plasma Display Panel) manufacturing capability by constructing a third plant in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture.

MPDP will invest 95 billion yen in the new plant, giving Panasonic the largest commercial production capability for PDPs in the world.

The new plant, located in the Osaka Bay area, will have a production capacity of over 250,000 units monthly (calculated as the basis of 42-inch screen-size panels) and more than 3 million PDPs annually -- the largest in the world in terms of production volume.

MPDP will break ground for the new plant in September this year with an anticipated opening date in November 2005.

The new plant is Panasonic's fourth PDP manufacturing facility. In addition to two current plants in Japan, the company also operates a PDP plant in China, Shanghai Matsushita Plasma Display Co., Ltd. The four plants' total PDP output will be 4.5 million units per annum. With the largest commercial production capacity in the industry, Panasonic continues to strive to capture the leading share in the global flat-panel TV market.

"By introducing next-generation process technologies and production systems, Panasonic will strengthen its commitment to the global PDP market," said Mr. Fumio Ohtsubo, President of Panasonic AVC Networks Company. To maximize efficiency and quality, all our PDP plants, including this new one, have an integrated production system from devices to finished products. This end-to-end production is Panasonic's big advantage."

The new plant will be able to manufacture large glass substrates used in making PDPs to increase productivity and realize speedy and flexible supply.

"Driven by surging demand in Japan, the US and Europe, the PDP market continues to grow rapidly," Mr. Ohtsubo added. "Digital terrestrial broadcasting services were introduced in Japan last December, and the digital broadcasting infrastructure is now being built in other parts of the world such as China and Southeast Asia, where large-screen and high-resolution flat-panel TVs are finding their way into living rooms. PDPs are also becoming more popular for public displays as well as for medical and educational applications. By the year 2008, PDP worldwide demand is expected to exceed 10 million units or 3 trillion yen."

Positioning PDP as their core business, Panasonic and Toray are committed to running MPDP together and making a significant contribution to the progress of the audio-visual industry on a global scale.

600450 Panasonic and Toray to Build World's Largest PDP Plant in Japan

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