* China, other emerging markets driving demand - Sharp
* Comments follow startup of Sharp's flagship LCD plant
* Shares close up 0.2 pct, in line with broader market
(Adds China demand, background)
SAKAI, Japan, Oct 16 The current industry
shortage of LCD panels could continue through the middle of next
year, the head of a unit at Japan's Sharp Corp (6753.T) said, in
a potential move to shore up investor confidence in panel makers.
"Supplies have yet to catch up with demand at the moment and
I expect things to remain that way until around the middle of
next year," Hiroshi Saji, the president of Sharp Display Products
Corp, told reporters on Friday.
Supplies have been tight due to brisk demand in emerging
markets including China, he said.
Research firm DisplaySearch last month edged up its global
LCD TV shipment forecast for 2009 by 2.4 percent to 130 million
units, citing strong demand in key markets such as China and
Saji was speaking after a ceremony marking the first panel
shipment from Sharp's new LCD plant.
Sharp, the world's fourth-largest LCD TV maker behind Samsung
Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), Sony Corp (6758.T) and LG
Electronics Inc (066570.KS), earlier this month started
production at its cutting-edge LCD panel factory in Sakai,
The 430 billion yen ($4.7 billion) plant is capable of
processing so-called 10th generation glass substrates, which are
bigger than earlier generation substrates and help cut per panel
Sharp Display Products is now wholly owned by Sharp, but Sony
plans to spend about 68 billion yen for a one-third stake in it
to jointly operate the Sakai plant.
Following Saji's comments, shares in Sharp closed up 0.2
percent at 1,036 yen, in line with the Nikkei average .N225.
(Reporting by Kentaro Hamada; Writing by Kiyoshi Takenaka;
Editing by Edwina Gibbs)