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Written by: Staff

SEOUL, Apr 18 (Reuters) S-LCD Corp., a liquid crystal display (LCD) joint venture between Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

and Sony Corp., said on Tuesday it would sell a combined 4 trillion won ($4.19 billion) worth of panels to the two firms this year.

The value of the contract is double the amount of S-LCD's sales in 2005.

The announcement, made in a filing to the regulatory Financial Supervisory Service, comes a week after both Samsung and Sony agreed to a $2 billion expansion of the South Korea-based venture.

Flat-panel TV makers are anticipating booming demand ahead of the World Cup in Germany this year, while concerns remain about softer margins from falling panel prices.

Samsung, the world's second-biggest maker of large LCD panels last year after LG.Philips LCD Co. Ltd., wants to use Sony's brand power to expand into the market for larger television panels.

Sony, Japan's second-largest consumer electronics maker after Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. is spending more to secure panels for its new line-up of Bravia brand LCD TVs, which have made big strides in grabbing market share.

Samsung said on Friday LCD prices may fall more sharply than its previous forecast of a 10-15 percent drop in 2006, echoing similar comments made by LG.Philips LCD last Tuesday and raising fears of a persistent industry glut.

Sony and Samsung formed the $2 billion joint venture in 2004 to make LCD panels for large TVs, as LCD makers seek tie-ups to survive margin-crushing competition.

Shares in Samsung Electronics rose 1.23 percent to 656,000 won by 0320 GMT and Sony gained 1.08 percent to 5,640 yen.

($1=955.3 Won) REUTERS CS HS0920

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