07 October 2004 03:46 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (CNI)--Corning’s board of directors has approved an additional $326m (Euro265m) in capital spending to further expand its new liquid crystal display (LCD) glass substrate plant now under construction in the Central Taiwan Science Park, Taichung, Taiwan, the company said on Thursday.
This investment will be used to fund the second phase of the Taichung facility. The investment for the first phase of the Taichung project was approved in July of this year.
The company said the new, second phase of the Taichung facility would add significantly to the plant's large-size glass substrate capacity.
Initial manufacturing from the second phase is projected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2005, with production continuing to come online through 2006. The company would not disclose further details on production volumes.
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. Higher generation substrates can be used to make LCD panels with larger screen sizes and higher resolutions.
Thursday’s announcement represents Corning's fourth major LCD capital expansion in the past 18 months. In July, it announced it would spend $750m, primarily for the new LCD manufacturing facility in Taichung.
In February it said it would spend $600m on expanding its Tainan, Taiwan and Shizuoka, Japan LCD glass facilities. Also in July 2003, it had said it would spend $180m on the expansion of the Tainan, Taiwan facility
Corning said it expects LCD glass market volume to grow between 40% and 60% a year through 2006, although it 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.
Some analysts have cautioned that increasing LCD panel inventories and lower-than-expected sales could put pressure on LCD manufacturers, although this is not immediately expected to have an impact on demand for LCD materials as the end-product manufacturers are still dedicated to capacity expansions.
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