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Panasonic to more than double DVD disc output
TORRANCE, Calif., May 12 (Reuters) - Panasonic Disc Services Corp., a unit of Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. , said on Friday its output of DVD discs will more than double to more than 14 million a month by year end.

The company, citing strong retail demand for DVDs, announced plans to boost output at six factories in North America, Europe and Japan from the current monthly level of 6 million discs.

"The popularity of the DVD format is growing at a staggering rate," Bob Pfannkuch, president of Panasonic Disc Services, said in a statement.

In addition to its headquarters and plant in Torrance, Calif., Panasonic Disc Services has a joint venture plant with Seagram Co.'s (Toronto: VO.TO) Universal Music Group in Pinckneyville, Ill., and two joint venture factories with the Eastman Kodak Co. (NYSE: EK) located in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Youghal, Ireland.

In Japan, Matsushita Electric operates two DVD disc-making plants.

By the end of this year, combined North American production capacity for the Panasonic DVD plants in California, Illinois and Mexico will rise to 10 million monthly units. The two Japan-based facilities will increase total output to 2.8 million units a month, while the factory in Ireland will expand monthly capacity to 1.2 million units.

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