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More mergers ahead for plasma displays?

Despite Pioneer's plans to acquire NEC's plasma display businesses, the industry may be ripe for more consolidation, research firm iSuppli/Stanford Resources said Monday. "With the crowded market now overripe for a round of consolidation, NEC may not be the last company to make an exit from plasma," analyst Paul Semenza wrote.

Used in flat-panel televisions, shipments of plasma display panels in 2003 surged 79 percent from 2002, iSuppli estimates. Semenza said manufacturers are investing heavily in production and focusing on maintaining market share. However, Japanese firms are having trouble keeping up with rivals in other parts of Asia, he said, predicting that the combined market share of LG Electronics and Samsung SDI in 2004 will exceed that of all Japanese manufacturers.