Wed, Nov 21, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Prime View rises on sales to Amazon

E-BOOK CONNECTION Aside from supplying flexible displays for Sony Readers, the local flat-panel maker recently added Amazon to its customer list for e-book devices

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Prime View International Co's (元太科技) stock jumped close to its 7 percent daily limit after the flat-panel maker said it was supplying flat-panel displays for the world's top Internet retailer's newly launched electronic book reader.

Amazom.com Inc's US$399 e-book reader, or Kindle, allows users to download books, magazines and newspapers using mobile EVDO technology, competing with Sony Corp's Sony Reader. Amazon's Kindle can hold about 200 book titles.

The stock price of Prime View advanced NT$2.85, or 6.88 percent, to close at NT$44.25 on the GRETAI Securities Market yesterday, surpassing the broader market's 0.72 percent rise.

The stock prices of other domestic flat-panel makers, including top player AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), rose between 2.79 percent and 6.24 percent.

"Benefiting from the growing number of electronic readers, Prime View's business will grow further in the fourth quarter and next year," Prime View chairman Scott Liu (劉思誠) said in a statement released yesterday.

Prime View, the world's sole maker of six-inch flexible displays, is also a supplier for Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony's electronic book readers.

The company said in the middle of last month that it would start shipping similar flexible displays to several new customers this quarter.

The growth would be a boost to Prime View's revenues and profits next year, Liu said.

Sales of e-book readers are expected to expand by a compounded annual growth rate of 10.5 percent to 4.2 million units in 2011, from 2.8 million units this year, local market researcher Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) said yesterday.

ITRI cautioned, however, that the flexible display market could account for only 3 percent of a total of US$196 billion in revenues of flat panel makers in 2015.

"The market is quite limited," ITRI said.

Flexible displays make up less than 10 percent of Prime View's total revenues. A majority of the firm's revenues come from liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels for mobile phones, consumer electronics and marine navigation devices.

The flexible displays are gray-scale, but Prime View said it planned to churn out color flexible displays next year. The company is also developing flexible displays for use in electronic labels, sub-screens on computers and for electronic dictionaries.

Prime View said that pre-tax profits in the first three quarters of the year jumped five-fold to NT$905 million (US$28 million), aided in part by better product prices and strong demand for panels for cellphones and digital photo frames.

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