Konica Minolta to build new LCD film plant-sources

TOKYO, July 2 (Reuters) - Japan's Konica Minolta Holdings Inc 4902.T will invest about 18 billion yen ($170 million) to build a new production facility for high-tech film used to make LCD panels, sources close to the matter said on Wednesday.

The factory will increase the company’s production capacity for triacetyl cellulose or TAC film, which protects the polarisation plate used in liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, by some 20 percent to 270 million square metres a year, they said.

Demand for TAC film is growing rapidly as flat TV makers such as Samsung Electronics Co 005930.KS and Sharp Corp 6753.T aggressively expand LCD panel production capacity. Konica Minolta competes with Fujifilm Holdings Corp 4901.T in TAC film.

The plant will be located in Kobe, western Japan, and operations are expected to begin late 2009, they said.

Konica Minolta shares were down 1.8 percent at 1,778 yen, against a 0.7 percent fall in the Nikkei average .N225. ($1=106.04 Yen) (Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Michael Watson)