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Sharp to strengthen LCD ties with Philips

TOKYO, Dec 17 – Japan\’s Sharp Corp. said Thursday it plans to boost supply of its liquid crystal display (LCD) panels to Dutch group Philips to meet growing global demand and reduce production costs.

"Sharp already supplies LCD panels to Philips but we would like to expand our deal because that would stabilise our LCD factory operations," a Sharp spokesman said without elaborating.

He declined to reveal the existing supply deal between the two companies.

Earlier Thursday the Nikkei business daily reported that Sharp is seeking to expand supply of its panels to bring down costs and recover its 380-billion-yen (4.3-billion-dollar) investment in a new plant in western Japan.

The Sakai plant is the world\’s largest factory handling glass substrates and builds panels for large-screen LCD televisions measuring between 40 and 60 inches, according to Sharp.

Sharp, which makes AQUOS brand TVs, will ship the panels to Philips\’ factories in Poland and Brazil next year and will consider assembling televisions for the Dutch maker in Poland in the future, the Nikkei said.

The deal comes as electronics makers are linking arms to recover from the worst global economic downturn in decades.

Sharp booked a net loss of 17.72 billion yen for the six months to September, against a profit of 28.01 billion yen in the same period last year.

Philips has been trying to reduce its investments in flat-panel displays in order to turn around its television business, the Nikkei said.

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