Wed, Oct 07, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Amtran board OKs buying stake in Japan’s Byd:Sign

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Local flat-panel TV maker Amtran Technology Co Ltd (瑞軒科技) said yesterday its board approved a proposal to acquire a 33 percent share of Japanese TV business startup Byd:Sign Corp.

Amtran will make flat-screen TVs for Tokyo-based Byd:Sign, the company said, building on its success with its investment in the low-cost US TV brand Vizio.

The alliance with Byd:Sign would help Amtran “expand [TV] sales in the Japanese market,” company spokesman Scottie Chiu (邱裕平) said in a statement submitted to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Amtran has been trying to diversify its customer portfolio away from Vizio and the North American market, to which Amtran has shipped about 80 percent of its products.

Byd:Sign sells its own-brand flat-panel TVs in electronics retailers in Japan.

Amtran also announced yesterday that sales rose 50 percent last month to NT$5.31 billion (US$165 million) on new product launches and sales promotions, compared with NT$3.54 billion in the same period last year.

That brought the company’s third-quarter revenues to NT$14.69 billion, an increase of more than 16 percent from NT$12.63 billion a year ago.

Shipments jumped 33.5 percent in the third quarter year-on-year to 920,000 units, bucking the downward trend in what is conventionally a slow season in the third quarter, Amtran said in a press release.

Last week, market researcher DisplaySearch raised its LCD TV shipment forecast for this year from 127 million units to 130 million units on the back of better-than-expected TV sales in North America and China during the second quarter.

The revised forecast will mean a 24 percent growth from last year, the Texas-based researcher said.

Meanwhile, DisplaySearch said yesterday that the panel prices for liquid-crystal-display (LCD) TVs are expected to drop faster — by US$3 to US$10 per unit — in the first half of this month after Chinese TV makers completed inventory buildup for the holiday shopping season.

The accelerating decline meant an end to price hikes over the past seven months, it said.

The price for mainstream 32-inch TV panels may drop by US$5, a 2.32 percent decrease, to US$210 per unit from US$215 two weeks ago, the researcher said in a report.

Prices for computer panels may decline by US$1 to US$7 per unit, on falling demand, DisplaySearch said.

Shares of Amtran rose 0.68 percent to NT$29.5, under-performing the TAIEX yesterday, which rose 1.32 percent.

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