AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電), the nation’s No. 2 LCD panel maker, yesterday posted the strongest monthly revenue in 22 months amid prevailing optimism that China’s newly unveiled program to subsidize replacements of older TV sets with energy-efficient models would give a much-needed boost to the industry after a prolonged slump.
AU Optronics said revenue grew 2.4 percent to NT$35.96 billion (US$1.22 billion) last month, compared with NT$35.1 billion in August.
Shipments of flat screens for PCs and TVs expanded 6 percent month-on-month to 11.75 million units last month, while those for mobile devices shrank 7.5 percent to 14.64 million units, despite speculation that the company was shipping LCD panels for Apple Inc’s new tablet, the iPad mini.
“We will be ready to embrace the high season in the second half, though the strength may not be as strong as it used to be,” company president Paul Peng (彭雙浪) told investors in July. “China’s new program to subsidize energy-efficient TV purchase and [inventory buildup demand before] Christmas shopping season will be the drivers.”
Last quarter, AU Optronics’ revenues grew 8 percent to NT$102.78 billion, from the second quarter’s NT$95.19 billion.
Overall panel shipments for PCs and TVs rose 4.6 percent to 33.22 million units from 31.7 million units in the second quarter, slightly better than the company’s forecast of a flat quarter. Shipments of smaller-sized panels mostly for handheld devices increased 11 percent last quarter to 42.22 million from 38 million, also better than the “mild growth” forecast by AU Optronics.
Seasonal demand and China’s new green energy policy also helped boost the nation’s largest LCD panel manufacturer Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子), which holds about 30 percent of China’s TV panel market.
Chimei Innolux yesterday reported a record-breaking monthly revenue for last month of NT$45.35 billion — the most since its creation via a three-in-one merger in 2010.
Last month’s figure was 2.1 percent higher than NT$44.4 billion in August, pushing the company’s third-quarter revenue 15.2 percent higher to NT$129.55 billion from NT$112.49 billion in the prior quarter.
Shipments of flat panels used in PCs and TVs increased 2.6 percent month-on-month to 14.25 million units, hitting a new record high. Last quarter, shipments grew 15.3 percent quarterly to 40.75 million.
Shipments of slim screens for mobile devices such as handsets and tablets rose 3.1 percent last month from August to 37.7 million, bringing the third-quarter shipments to total 108.17 million, up 14.4 percent quarter-on-quarter.
Smaller rival Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管) yesterday said revenue grew 4.6 percent to NT$4.63 billion, from NT$4.43 billion in August. That was the highest level in 11 months.
Shipments of LCD panels for PCs and TVs plunged 41 percent to 193,000 units last month from a month ago, while shipments of smaller panels for cellphones, tablets and other electronics devices slipped 0.7 percent to 42.22 million units from 42.53 million units, it said.
In the July-to-September period, revenue jumped 19 percent to NT$13.11 billion from NT$11.01 billion in the previous quarter, it said.