• The Associated Press

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Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. expects to double its production capacity for plasma display panels when a new plant begins production in Hyogo Prefecture in May 2009, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The Osaka-based maker of Panasonic-brand electronics plans to manufacture 300,000 42-inch plasma display panels a month at the plant to be built in Amagasaki, spokesman Akira Kadota said.

Combined with a planned output increase at another Amagasaki plant that began operating this month, Matsushita will be able to turn out 1.26 million panels a month by May 2009, up from the current 640,000, Kadota said.

Construction of the new plant — Matsushita’s third in Amagasaki, which is near Osaka — is slated to begin in November, Kadota said. The company currently has four plasma display panel plants in Japan and another in Shanghai, he added.

The new Amagasaki plant will eventually be able to turn out 1 million plasma displays a month, Kadota said. Matsushita has not yet decided on any production increases after May 2009, he said.

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