Sat, Feb 11, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Chunghwa Picture Tubes posts smaller loss for Q4

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (CPT, 中華映管), the nation’s No. 3 LCD panel maker, yesterday posted a smaller quarterly loss for the fourth quarter of last year after selling more higher-margin panels for handsets and tablets.

That marked the latest progress in the company’s strategic shift away from the cutthroat PC and TV panel business.

In the fourth quarter, losses narrowed to NT$3.38 billion (US$114 million), compared with a third-quarter loss of NT$3.61 billion and a loss of NT$6.01 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, the company’s financial statement showed.

Gross margins improved to minus-4.5 percent in the fourth quarter, from minus-9.1 percent in the previous quarter and minus-14.1 percent a year ago.

The improvement “proved that our strategy of focusing on mobile device panels, while cutting production of large [PC and TV] panels, works well,” company president Lin Sheng-chang (林盛昌) told an investor teleconference yesterday.

Revenue from panels used in mobile devices accounted for 67 percent of the company’s total revenue of NT$13.34 billion in the final quarter of last year, up from 37 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 and from 57 percent in the third quarter, according to the financial statement.

Last year, CPT shipped 480 million LCD panels used in mobile devices like cellular phones, tablets and e-readers, making the Taoyuan-based company the world’s top supplier of such panels.

This year, the company plans to increase that figure by between 20 percent and 25 percent, with extra focus on high-resolution panels outfitted with its smartphone touch sensors, Lin said.

CPT plans to spend NT$2 billion on adjusting existing production lines at its 6G factory.

In the short term, Lin said demand would bottom out this quarter and start to gradually recover from the second quarter.

Smaller rival HannStar Display Inc (瀚宇彩晶) yesterday said its losses improved to NT$1.87 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of NT$4.08 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010 and losses of NT$2.59 billion in the third quarter.

HannStar is also shifting its capacity to focus on small panels used in handheld devices. Last quarter, mobile device panels accounted for nearly 80 percent of its total shipment of 4.5 million units, according to a statement.

Separately, Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子), the nation’s top LCD panel maker, yesterday posted a 33 percent decline in its revenue for last month, at NT$31.19 billion, compared with NT$46.85 billion in December, according to a company statement released yesterday.

Chimei Innolux blamed fewer working days because of the Lunar New Year holiday, which it said delayed shipments that would be reflected in next month’s revenue figures.

Shipments of PC and TV panels plunged 38 percent from 13 million units shipped in December to 8.08 million units last month. Shipments of small-and-medium-sized panels fell 24 percent from 35 million units to 26.5 million units.

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