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Zenith plans big-screen TV push.

GLENVIEW, Ill.--Zenith Electronics Corp. plans to be a bigger player in the large-screen TV business.

Albin Moschner, president and chief executive, said the company is investing more than $100 million in a new plant that will produce 32-and 35-inch picture tubes.

The new plant location has not been disclosed.

The news was delivered to Zenith stockholders during the company's annual meeting here. This was the first annual meeting since LG Electronics acquired 58 percent of Zenith's stock and made a direct $165 million investment into the company last November.

"Based on our strategic plan we saw the need to make investments in areas where the market is expanding and where we are not yet a major player," Albin said. "Even as overall industry sales in direct-view color TVs have been slowing, the larger screen, home theater segment continues to explode. We have been disadvantaged in this growing market environment because we have to buy our 32-inch and 35-inch picture tubes from competitors."

He said other major picture tube investments are being made in high resolution computer display tubes.

In addition, Albin said the company is "making strategic technology investments" in a digital future. Products on the horizon include DVD players, set-top boxes for wireless and wired cable systems, cable modems and HDTV.

Commenting on the company's realignment of its consumer product sales and marketing functions reported in last week's HFN, Albin said sales and marketing will be organized around its key customer areas: the domestic market, the international market and its commercial specialized product area.

"These areas each will have dedicated sales, marketing and engineering and product management activities to support their aggressive growth plans," he said.

During the meeting, HunJo Lee, chairman of Zenith's board of directors and former chairman of LGE, said that Zenith is not meeting its full potential.

Zenith had a net loss of $92 million for 1995. And, the company had a difficult first quarter, with a loss of $35 million.

"The board of directors is determined to take the steps necessary to return Zenith to profitability," Lee said.

Moschner said, "The short term will continue to be painful as we retool the company for growth. There are no quick fixes, no Band-Aids, but long term, with LG's support, Zenith can and will be a winner."
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Title Annotation:Zenith Electronics Corp. to build manufacturing plant
Author:Bloomfield, Judy
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 6, 1996
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