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Samsung/Sony LCD venture steps up production

25 percent hike in output

S-LCD, the joint Samsung and Sony LCD panel manufacturing venture, is planning to raise production of large-screen panels by a quarter, it said on Tuesday.

S-LCD operates a production line at Samsung's facility in Tangjeong, South Korea, and produces LCD panels for large-screen television sets. Increasing demand for such sets is pushing the two companies to increase production, they said.

The group will raise the equivalent of an additional £56.7m to increase production capacity from the current 60,000 glass sheets per month to 75,000 sheets per month. The actual number of LCD panels that can be produced each month will vary depending on the size of panel being made. The production line can process sheets of 187x220cm – so-called 7th-generation sheets – from which, for example, eight 40in or six 46in panels can be produced.

The company hopes to raise the money in the first half of next year with the intention of reaching the new production capacity in July 2006, it said in a statement.

The announcement comes a month after Samsung said it will increase investment in a similar line being built alongside the S-LCD facility in Tangjeong.

Samsung had originally committed £1.4bn to build its own production line and in October said it will invest a further £1bn. The initial investment is enough to get production started in April next year at a maximum capacity of 45,000 glass sheets per month, and the additional money will double this.

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