Thu, Jul 16, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Chi Mei dismisses M&A speculation


Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子), the nation’s No. 2 maker of flat panels used in PCs and TVs, said yesterday it had no substantial merger and acquisition plans with any competitors, including local rival AU Optronics Corp (友達光電).

The company dismissed renewed speculation about a potential consolidation plan to benefit from a nascent industry recovery.

Speculation about various mergers and acquisitions, including a tie-up between the nation’s two biggest panel makers, emerged in the fourth quarter last year, the darkest period in the industry-wide downturn.

“We are open to any M&A opportunities, but we do not have any substantial plans in that regard for the moment,” Chi Mei spokesman Denis Chen (陳世賢) told the Taipei Times by telephone yesterday.

The comments came after local Chinese-language Next Magazine reported yesterday that Chi Mei co-founder Hsu Wen-lung (許文龍) would consider selling the unprofitable panel maker to AU Optronics, citing anonymous sources.

Chi Mei said first quarter losses narrowed to NT$19.57 billion (US$593 million) from record-high quarterly losses of NT$31.13 billion in the final quarter of last year.

Separately, Chi Mei said it had no concrete plans to manufacture TV panels in China at a new next-generation — or 8.5-generation (8.5G) — plant with a Chinese company.

Chen said Chi Mei had not signed a memorandum of understanding with the company to jointly build the plant in Guangdong, as reported in the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday.

“Our Chinese investment project will match government policy,” Chen said.

Chi Mei has called on the government to remove a ban on local panel makers from building advanced plants in China. The company fears the policy is hurting Taiwanese firms’ competitiveness against South Korean firms in one of the fastest-growing TV markets.

Chi Mei has suspended the construction of a 8.5G plant in southern Taiwan in the fourth quarter as oversupply and an economic downturn curtailed demand for flat panels.

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