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Hitachi-Matsushita Venture to Lift LCD Panel Capacity

A Hitachi joint venture with Matsushita Electric Industrial and Toshiba said on Tuesday it plans to invest 9 billion yen (US$78 million) to lift LCD panel production capacity by 20% ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

IPS Alpha Technology, which supplies liquid crystal display panels to the three flat-TV makers, plans to raise output at a plant in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, it said in a release.

It would then be able to make the equivalent of 6 million 32-inch TVs by July-September 2008, up from the current 5 million.

Price falls are hurting flat TV margins, forcing electronics makers to pool their resources in quest of scale.

A LCD joint venture by Samsung Electronics and Sony began commercial output last month, while Sharp plans a capital alliance with Pioneer to jointly develop displays.

Hitachi unit Hitachi Displays holds a 50% stake in IPS Alpha, while Matsushita holds 30% and Toshiba holds 15%. Other investors hold the remaining 5%.