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March 8, 2001
ST-LCD To Expand Production Capacity of
Low-Temperature Polysilicon TFT LCD Panels
75 billion yen capital expenditure for second production line;
Sony and Toyoda Automatic Loom Works to invest an additional capital of 20 billion yen
ST Liquid Crystal Display Corporation
Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd.
(March 8, 2001, Tokyo) ST Liquid Crystal Display Corporation (ST-LCD), a joint venture company established by Sony Corporation and Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd., today announced that it will execute a capital expenditure of 75 billion yen to expand its production capacity of low-temperature polysilicon thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) panels. This will be accompanied by an additional investment from Sony and Toyoda Automatic Loom Works of 20 billion yen in ST-LCD.
ST-LCD was established in October 1997 in Aichi-Prefecture, Japan by Sony and Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. Since the beginning of full-scale production in April 1999, ST-LCD has been expanding its production capacity to meet the increasing market demand, and is now operating at full capacity. Several customers including Sony are now utilizing the finished panels for digital still and video camera applications.
In addition to high numerical aperture, high resolution and low power consumption features, LCD panels produced by ST-LCD and sold by Sony can facilitate the systematic integration of the display device and its driver circuits onto a single TFT glass base plate. The resulting cost reduction and miniaturization of the display unit allows the LCD panels to be used in a wide range of applications such as digital video/still cameras, in-car monitors, etc.
Another promising application is in the area of wide-band mobile phones. As mobile phones become capable of exchanging large content files such as video and still image data, demand for color display panels will increase drastically. In 2005, it is expected that some 600 million mobile phones will be equipped with color display panels (source: ADR). The resulting demand for compact yet high-quality display panels will provide a lucrative business opportunity for low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD panels.
To expand the production capacity, ST-LCD will execute a capital expenditure of 75 billion yen this fall to establish a second production line, which is due to begin production in June 2002. Together with the reinforcement of the first production line, ST-LCD's production capacity will be increased from 12,000 base plates/month to 32,000 base plates/month (600X720mm) in 2002.
As part of this effort, Sony and Toyoda Automatic Loom Works will invest 10 billion yen each for an additional capital injection of 20 billion yen in ST-LCD. As a result, ST-LCD's capital will be increased to 50 billion yen. ST-LCD, Sony and Toyoda Automatic Loom Works will continue to position its low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD panels as a key device for the small-size display market, and actively develop and produce high quality panels.