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Sharp and Panasonic who also make panels for Pioneer could face shortages of glass for their flat panel TV’s in the peak period running up to Xmas following a major fire which occurred at the Asahi Glass plant in Japan last week according to DigiTimes.

Hardest hit say insiders will be Sharp according to market sources. The fire was caused by a leak from a glass melter. Asahi Glass Taiwan admitted that the incident occurred but declined to elaborate, indicating details would be released from the company’s headquarters in Japan.

The market sources cited a Daiwa Institute of Research report that indicated that the plant is Asahi Glass’ number one production line and provides glass substrates for LCD panel production for 7G, 7.5G and 8G lines. The report also noted that it would take 2-3 months for the plant to return to normal.

However, while Taiwan panel makers AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) also noted that they are aware of the incident, they do not expect any effect on their market position, as it will not impact supply glass substrate supply for them.

In addition, LCD panel makers in Taiwan pointed out that while the incident may impact Sharp, it would not affect the overall market significantly, as the panel market is currently facing weak downstream demand and an inventory buildup. Panel makers have already responded to the market situation by reducing their utilization rates this quarter.

Asahi Glass is the second biggest glass substrate supplier in the world with a 24% market share in the first quarter of this year, according to the sources.

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