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Electronics Production | November 25, 2005

SCHOTT Invests 195 Million Dollars in Market for TFT- LCD Glass Substrates

SCHOTT AG is expanding its activities in the market for flat panel displays. The technology company based in Mainz, Germany, is investing 195 million dollars (150 million euros) in its melting and processing capacity for TFT-LCD glass (Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display) for flat panel displays.
“SCHOTT has the best chances to gain a top position in the market for display glass, a market growing at 20 to 30 percent annually,” said Dr. Udo Ungeheuer, Chairman of the Board of Management. “

Today in Seoul, South Korea, SCHOTT entered a joint venture for the processing of large format TFT-LCD glass substrates with technology leader Kuramoto Seisakusho Co. Ltd., based in Japan's Miyagi prefecture. SCHOTT holds 75 percent of the shares of SCHOTT KURAMOTO Processing Korea Co. Ltd. and will supply the newly formed company with large format glass substrates of generation five and upwards. Kuramoto will contribute its processing know-how and owns the remaining 25 percent share.

The new 115 million dollar (90 million euro) plant is to be located approximately 70 kilometers south of Seoul in Chungcheongbuk-do Ochang Science Park, where it will be in close proximity to the global market leaders for flat panel televisions, Samsung Electronics and LG Philips LCD. The joint venture will create approximately 350 jobs by the time volume production begins at the end of 2006. The company will serve panel and television manufacturers, all of whom are located in Asia.

SCHOTT is also stepping up its melting capacity for alkali-free thin glass substrates of the seventh and eighth generations with the constructing of a new TFT melting tank, to be built in Jena, Germany, where SCHOTT already operates one TFT tank. Construction of the 80 million dollar tank (60 million euros) will begin in February, with ramp-up planned for the end of 2006. The new tank will create 100 new jobs in Jena and will more than double the company's melting capacity for the 0.7 millimeter thick TFT substrates.

Currently TFT-LCD monitors and notebooks are dominating the market for flat screens. Flat panel televisions will, however, become the largest market segment by the end of the decade, driving demand for large format substrates. These allow flat panel TV manufacturers to produce more TFT-LCD panels in one production step, thereby bringing manufacturing costs down, as growing consumer demand for flat panel televisions has been steadily forcing prices to drop.

The investments are part of SCHOTT's larger committment to Asia, where ever more of its customers manufacture.

SCHOTT is an international technology company providing special materials, components and systems. Its main areas of focus are the household appliances industry, optics, opto-electronics, pharmaceuticals and solar energy. SCHOTT is present in all its major markets through production and sales companies, with 17,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of 2 billion euros. SCHOTT is based in Mainz, Germany.

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