Thu, Jan 22, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Chi Mei delays large panel production

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chi Mei Optoelectronics Co (奇美電子), the nation’s second-biggest liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panel maker, said yesterday it had suspended plans to start mass production of large-size TV screens at a new advanced fab, citing a gloomy market outlook.

The Tainan-based panel maker said in October it planned to start shipping 50-inch or larger TV panels from an 8.5-generation (8.5G) plant in the second half of this year.

“The company has started moving in equipment for the 8.5G fab. However, as the market outlook is unclear, the company will set a new schedule for mass production depending on market demand,” Chi Mei said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Chi Mei had said earlier that it expected falling prices to boost demand for LCD TVs with screens bigger than 40 inches.

Chi Mei’s filing confirmed a report by the Chinese-language Commercial Times that it had postponed the production ramp up of the 8.5G factory.

Chi Mei could see losses widen to NT$20.34 billion (US$605 million) in the fourth quarter of last year, while its bigger rival, AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電), could swing into losses of NT$24.8 billion in the same period as panel prices plunge on contracting demand, Citigroup said in a report.

Shares of Chi Mei and AUO fell 0.49 percent and 2.12 percent to NT$10.1 and NT$23.05 respectively.

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