Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子), the nation’s second-largest liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panel maker, yesterday reported flat sales last month partly because of tight component supply and a labor shortage.
The Tainan-based company made NT$28.6 billion (US$888 million) in sales, down 0.4 percent from NT$28.7 billion in December, it said in an e-mailed statement. On a year-on-year basis, that represented a jump from NT$11.2 billion in January last year.
“We did see some impact from shortages in labor and key component supply [last month],” company spokesman Eddie Chen (陳彥松) said by telephone. “Nonetheless, we think this quarter will be better than the seasonal trend.”
Although first quarter is traditionally a slow season, Chen expected prices for certain products to rise this month as demand outpaced supply.
Prices for PC and notebook computer panels are expected to rise by 2 percent to 6 percent in the first half of this month from two weeks ago, Taipei-based research house WitsView said, while TV panels are expected to hold steady or edge up 1 percent.
Shipments of PC and TV panels increased 2.3 percent month-on-month, more than doubling from a year ago, to 7.29 million units last month, Chi Mei’s statement showed.
Meanwhile, bigger rival AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) yesterday reported a rise in sales last month of 3.8 percent to NT$38.2 billion, from NT$37.1 billion in December. Compared with the same month of last year, sales grew almost two-fold from NT$13.2 billion.
The results indicated that the panel maker was well on track to meet its first-quarter forecast of flat to single-digit quarterly growth both in shipments and prices of PC and TV panels.
Shipments of PC and TV panels expanded 3.8 percent month-on-month, nearly tripling year-on-year, to 9.45 million units last month, AU Optronics said.
Chi Mei is set to stop trading on March 8 in preparation for its delisting on March 18, when the three-way merger with Innolux Display Corp (群創光電) and TPO Display Corp (統寶光電) takes effect.
The new company — Chi Mei Innolux — will become the nation’s largest LCD panel maker by capacity, unseating AU Optronics.
Shares of AU Optronics and Chi Mei climbed 1.3 percent and 3.5 percent to NT$34.90 and NT$24 respectively, outperforming the benchmark TAIEX, which inched up 0.04 percent yesterday.