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Electronics

Panasonic to pull plug on LCD panels by 2021

Japanese plant will shift to car batteries, driven out by foreign rivals

Panasonic's Himeji plant will be repurposed to make automotive batteries. (Photo courtesy of the company)

OSAKA -- Panasonic will stop producing LCD monitors for medical equipment by 2021, bringing an end to the display business for a company that once ranked among the world's top television makers.

A factory in Hyogo Prefecture west of Osaka that churns out liquid crystal displays will be repurposed to produce automotive batteries, the Japanese company said Thursday. The plant, in the city of Himeji, will keep virtually all of its roughly 500 workers.

The factory launched mass production of flat-screen TV displays in 2010, but losses forced the company to pull out of the television panel business in 2016. Since then, the plant has built monitors for medical equipment and other products.

Panasonic fell victim to the rise of Chinese and South Korean manufacturers possessing pricing advantages. The company was exploring ways to make better use of the display factory, part of which already had switched to battery production.

Group unit Panasonic Liquid Crystal Display rang up 28 billion yen ($258 million) in sales for the year ended in March.

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