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Electronics Production | March 22, 2007

Matsushita remains dominant in Plasma

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. of Japan maintained its leadership position in Plasma Display Panel (PDP) production in the fourth quarter of 2006, accounting for 37.3 percent of global unit shipments due to the strength of its Panasonic brand, according to iSuppli Corp.
Meanwhile, the Korean players' PDP shipments slid due to the deluge of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) panels flooding the market.

“The Korean players not only have lost market share, but they also suffered a slowdown in their shipments in the fourth quarter due to intense competition from LCDs," said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli. “This competitive pressure will only intensify as consumer acceptance of LCD-TVs increases."

South Korean manufacturer LG Electronics managed to end the fourth quarter of 2006 still in the No. 2 position with 24.2 percent of PDP unit shipments. Samsung SDI, also of South Korea, concluded the quarter with 21.1 percent of the market. Coming in fourth was Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma (FHP) with a 10.7 percent share, while Pioneer rounded out the Top-5 PDP supplier rankings with 6.8 percent.
The table below presents iSuppli's global market-share ranking for the Top-5 PDP suppliers in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Please note that the rankings presented in this release refer to plasma panels used in televisions and other products, rather than the televisions and other products themselves.

iSuppli Table: Worldwide ranking of the Top-5 PDP Manufacturers in the Fourth Quarter of 2006 (Ranking by Percentage of Unit Shipments)



Worldwide PDP production is set to grow to 22.7 million units by 2011, increasing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14 percent from 13.4 million units in 2007, iSuppli predicts. In 2006, PDP production hit 10 million units, generating revenue of $7.7 billion. Total panel shipments reached 2.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2006, a moderate increase of 4 percent from the third quarter.

Profitability a concern
Despite rising unit shipments, the entire PDP supply chain—and specifically the panel makers and brands—are finding it a challenge to remain profitable in this business. However, price declines are inevitable due to stiff competition from LCDs and microdisplay-based rear-projection sets. Because of a precipitous decline in Average Selling Prices (ASPs), which are falling at a 13 percent CAGR, there will be only a slight increase in PDP market revenue during the next five years.
Declines in PDP ASPs are due to the following factors:

Increased competition that is forcing panel makers to reduce their prices, even in a tight supply situation, so that the brands can compete effectively with other display technologies, like LCDs

Larger fab sizes that will boost production efficiencies while enabling the cutting of more panels from a single motherglass sheet and reducing panel production costs

Improved manufacturing processes

Declining costs of display materials, such as electronics and glass

Escalating competition from LCD and microdisplay-based rear-projection systems in both the consumer electronics and business markets.


Expanding capacityDue to declining ASPs and concerns about future revenue growth among suppliers, Matsushita is the only PDP maker now proceeding with manufacturing expansion plans. Matsushita is hoping that demand for larger-sized PDPs will continue to be strong and that the sales to the digital-signage and business markets will start to accelerate.

Other suppliers are playing a wait-and-see game, or are even cutting their production utilization rates to about the 70 percent level, iSuppli believes. These suppliers are concerned about market conditions and are not willing to make the same type of commitment as Matsushita.

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