Thu, Dec 09, 2010 - Page 11 News List

LCD TV price fall to slow on US demand pickup: IDC

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

A decline in LCD TV panel prices is expected to slow down next quarter as a result of better-than-expected TV demand during the year-end shopping season in the US, giving a much-needed injection to the gloomy LCD industry, market researcher International Data Corp (IDC) said yesterday.

IDC originally expected US consumers would remain cautious about electronics purchases given a weak US economic recovery and a high unemployment rate. However, demand has turned out better than forecast.

“Black Friday TV sales look quite good,” IDC analyst Annabelle Hsu (徐美雯) said on the sidelines of a forum in Taipei yesterday.

IDC did not provide detailed sales figures.

“This is good news to flat-panel makers ... Now we think the first-quarter will be a better quarter than I thought,” Hsu said.

IDC now predicts a soft landing, with the average unit price of LCD TV panels expected to fall at a slower rate of US$5 to US$10 per month compared with this quarter, Hsu said.

That would help alleviate the financial and operational pressure faced by Taiwanese LCD panel makers, especially as prices for LCD panels used in desktop monitors and notebook computers are forecast to rise slightly next quarter in IDC’s best-scenario analysis, Hsu said.

Taiwan’s two biggest LCD panel makers — Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子) and AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) — were severely hit by the recent downturn.

Chimei Innolux posted wider losses of NT$3.64 billion (US$120.6 million) last quarter, while AU Optronics reported a 97 percent decline in net profits to NT$227 million.

AU Optronics shares rose for a third straight session to NT$30.80 yesterday, while Chimei lost for a second consecutive session, dropping to NT$40.45.

Next quarter, revenues from global LCD TV panels are expected to grow 12.4 percent to US$19.15 billion from US$17.03 billion this quarter, Hsu said.

She did not include the recent pickup in TV demand when doing the forecast.

Increasing shipments of high-priced LED TV panels and 3D TV panels would also contribute to the growth of first-quarter revenues, Hsu said.

By shipments, global sales of LCD TVs would only inch up 1.8 percent sequentially next quarter to 155 million units, Hsu said.

Separately, Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管), the nation’s third-biggest LCD panel maker, yesterday said revenues grew 2.6 percent to NT$5.75 billion last month from October’s NT$5.6 billion, joining bigger rival AU Optronics in ending straight losses over the past months.

Shipments of LCD TV and PC panels increased 1.1 percent to 1.84 million units last month from 1.82 million in the previous month, according to a company statement.

Meanwhile, HannStar Display Corp (瀚宇彩晶) said on Tuesday that revenues expanded 4.5 percent to NT$3.48 billion last month from NT$3.33 billion in October.

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