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Saint-Gobain gets interested in LCD glass

France“s Saint-Gobain is looking at launching production of highly pure glass for LCDs, it was reported by the Financial Times, citing company chief executive Jean-Lous Beffa.
The Saint-Gobain CEO, …

France“s Saint-Gobain is looking at launching production of highly pure glass for LCDs, it was reported by the Financial Times, citing company chief executive Jean-Lous Beffa. The Saint-Gobain CEO, said 8 December 2004 that his company could enter the LCD glass business “quite soon”. In entering the LCD glass arena, the Paris-based company would do battle with market leader Corning, the US specialist glass supplier, and Japan“s Asahi Glass Company, the world“s major producer of flat glass for windows. “Glass for flat screen displays is such a big and fast growing area that we feel we would be in a strong position to enter the business and build up reasonable sales,” said Beffa. In 2003, about 4,300 tonnes of high-purity glass for LCD screens, which are made in sheets of 0.7mm in thickness and worth about USD 1.5 billion, were produced worldwide. Corning has about half the market, while the next biggest maker is Asahi with an estimated 20% share, the Financial Times said. Beffa said that entering a business after it had become established was not necessarily a disadvantage: “Sometimes it can be profitable to make a late entry”. In 2004, world output of LCD glass is expected to be worth USD 2 billion, about a third higher than in 2003, the Financial Times said.

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