Thu, Jun 14, 2007 - Page 11 News List

AU Optronics forecasts profit for second quarter

CRYSTAL BALL GAZING The world's third-largest liquid-crystal-display maker yesterday joined industry-leader Samsung Electronics Co in predicting a market recovery

BLOOMBERG , WITH STAFF WRITER

At its annual shareholder meeting yesterday, AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the world's third-largest liquid-crystal-display (LCD) maker, forecast a profit for this quarter as LCD panel prices rise.

AU Optronics chairman Lee Kun-yao (李焜耀) said factories were running at full capacity, while its president Chen Hsuen-bin (陳炫彬) said the company plans to double the manufacturing capacity at its newest LCD factory by the third quarter of next year.

AU Optronics joins industry leader Samsung Electronics Co in predicting a market recovery. Prices of LCD panels used in computer and TV sets started to rise in April, helped by increased orders from TV and computer makers, according to estimates by research firm Witsview Technology Corp (聯景科技).

AU Optronics' so-called 7.5-generation factory, which produces TV screens measuring 40 inches and above, can currently process 40,000 sheets of glass a month, Chen told shareholders.

The factory's monthly capacity will climb to 80,000 by the third quarter of next year after reaching 60,000 in this year's third quarter, he said.

The company, which reported a NT$5.11 billion (US$154.7 million) net loss in the first quarter, will probably post a net income of NT$1.01 billion in the quarter ending June 30, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. A Reuters poll showed an average estimate of NT$1.55 billion.

During the one-hour shareholder meeting yesterday in Hsinchu, Lee had his term extended for three more years, the company said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday. Chen will also continue his term for another three years, the filing said.

But Quanta Computer Inc's (廣達電腦) top two executives stepped down as board directors of AU Optronics.

Taoyuan-based Quanta Computer, the world's largest maker of laptop computers sold under other companies' brands, is AU Optronics' second-largest shareholder with a 5.31 percent stake.

Quanta president Michael Wang (王震華) and vice chairman C.C. Leung (梁次震) didn't seek re-election at the annual meeting for shareholders, said David Chang, a director at AU Optronics' finance department.

Prior to the shareholder meeting, Quanta Computer was rumored to be planning to elect its representatives to the board of AU Optronics. Quanta's LCD unit, Quanta Display Inc (廣輝電子), was acquired by AU Optronics in April last year through a share-swap deal.

Both Quanta Computer and AU Optronics declined to comment on the matter yesterday.

However, the Chinese-language United Evening News quoted Lee as saying that AU Optronics had invited Quanta Computer to join the board, but that "Quanta decided not to do so."

Shares of AU Optronics rose 0.19 percent to close at NT$55.30 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, compared with a 0.29 percent decline on the benchmark TAIEX index.

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