Sat, Feb 12, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Chunghwa Picture losses expand

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

LCD panel maker Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) yesterday said losses widened to NT$5.86 billion (US$200 million) last quarter as asset write-offs from its cathode-ray-tube (CRT) screen division and foreign-exchange losses added to an already weak bottom line.

To improve its operations, Chunghwa Picture would speed up its capacity shift to the production of higher-margin niche panels, such as touch panels and panels used in tablet devices and smartphones, company president Lin Sheng-chang (林盛昌) told an investor conference.

The company is expanding its touch panel capacity in Taiwan and in Fuzhou (福州), Fujian Province, China, by converting existing capacities, Lin said.

By the end of this year, the capacity would reach between 50 million and 60 million units, Lin said.

SMALLER SCREENS

The company expects input of small and medium-sized flat panels used in smartphones and tablet devices to rise to more than 50 percent of its total capacity this year, from 36 percent at the end of last year, Lin said.

That would make small and medium-sized panels the company’s major source of revenue, replacing computer and TV panels, where competition is severe, Lin said.

The Taoyuan-based flat panel maker lost NT$4.88 billion in the third quarter after a brief turnaround in the first half of last year amid a global LCD industrial slump. It posted a loss of NT$12.26 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Chunghwa Picture booked NT$110 million in foreign-exchange losses last quarter partly because of the New Taiwan dollar’s more than 5 percent rise against the greenback, the company said.

Losses from the company’s LCD business last quarter reached NT$4.41 billion, slightly lower from third-quarter’s losses of NT$4.85 billion, because of increased production of higher-margin products, Lin said.

Overcapacity and a seasonal slowdown, which drove prices down, contributed to the losses, Lin said.

CRT LOSSES

However, CRT losses expanded to NT$1.05 billion last quarter, from losses of NT$65 million in the prior quarter, the company’s financial statement showed.

This quarter, Chunghwa Picture expects shipments of computer and TV panels to grow 13 percent to 6 million units from 5.3 million units last quarter on the back of rising demand for energy-saving LED panels and some new models, the company said.

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