AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the world's third-largest maker of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels, yesterday said third-quarter earnings set an all-time high on the back of robust demand and recovering panel prices.
Net income jumped to NT$22.57 billion (US$693 million), or NT$2.89 per share, compared with NT$612 million, or NT$0.1 a share, the previous year.
On a quarterly basis, the results represented close to a three-fold growth.
"In addition to the strong demand from end-user markets and stable panel prices, Synergy from merging Quanta Display Inc (
Gross margin improved to 23 percent last quarter from 8.4 percent the previous year and 11.4 percent in the second quarter. Revenues almost doubled to NT$137.96 billion from the previous year.
Looking ahead, "the fourth quarter should be a flat quarter. Channel inventory is quite healthy and the company will be careful [about inventory buildup] for the next quarters," AU Optronics chief executive Chen Hsuan-bin (
"The way ahead is quite clear," Chen said.
In the traditionally slack fourth quarter, computer panel shipment could slide by a low single-digit percentage quarter on quarter, which would be better than the company's previous forecasts, Cheng said.
TV panel shipments could increase by more than 10 percent, Cheng said. Factory usage could rise to more than 95 percent this quarter, he said.
Average selling prices for computer panels will likely remain unchanged, but those of TV panels could drop by a low single-digit percentage, he said.
"TV demand is quite strong despite the subprime problem in the US," AU Optronics general manager Chen Lai-ju (
The company projections did not completely dispel fears of a slowdown, however.
"We remain concerned about excessive inventory. And there are worries about weakening demand for monitor panels and the impact of the subprime crisis on TV sales," said Frank Su (
AU Optronics, however, was bullish about the next two years and projected a panel constraint.
"We believe demand will be quite strong in 2008 and 2009," Chen Hsuan-bin said.
AU Optronics will complete its long-suspended construction of a next-generation factory to produce bigger than 50-inch TV screens by the end of this year, Chen said.
"We are seeing growing demand for TVs with screen sizes bigger than 50 inches," Chen said.
Excluding the capital for the new factory, AU Optronics will spend NT$90 billion on new facilities and equipment next year, compared with NT$70 billion this year.
"The capacity expansion plan will help AU Optronics catch up with rival LPL" in producing bigger TV screens, Su said.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB