Thu, Nov 22, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Flat-panel firms set to report 8% revenue growth

THANKSGIVING SPREE:Third-quarter revenues exceeded researchers’ estimates thanks to strong demand for TVs ahead of Black Friday sales in the US

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese flat-panel makers are expected to report 8 percent quarterly growth in revenue this quarter on the back of reduced oversupply and growing demand for tablet panels, a local research center projected yesterday.

Revenues would grow to NT$261.8 billion (US$8.97 billion) in the current quarter, compared with NT$242.47 billion last quarter, bucking the downtrend in the seasonally slow fourth quarter, Taiwan Industrial Economics and Knowledge Research Center (IEK) forecast.

Third-quarter revenues exceeded IEK’s estimate of NT$222.07 billion, up 12.6 percent quarter-on-quarter, on strong TV panel demand from global TV brands before the Black Friday sales in the US, which begin tomorrow.

However, growth momentum was weaker than the IEK expected as anemic growth in the US and Europe weighed on consumer confidence, it said.

For the whole year, local panel companies would see revenues down 3.2 percent to NT$921.45 billion, from NT$951.97 billion last year.

That compares with an annual decline of 16 percent last year.

“We do not expect a severe glut in the fourth quarter as major panel makers, including AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) and Chimei Innolux Corp (奇美電子), are cutting capacity due to technological migration,” IEK analyst Nancy Liu (劉美君) said in a report.

TV screens are rising at a biweekly pace of US$1 per unit and prices for computer panels have held steady since last month, Liu said.

“Coupled with stabilizing demand, those factors will help boost revenues of local panel companies,” she said.

Market researcher NPD DisplaySearch yesterday said panel makers raised prices from US$1 to US$3 per unit for 32-inch TV panels this month from last month as demand exceeded supply.

Prices for 39-inch, 42-inch and 50-inch TV panels were unchanged this month on supply constraints, as Chinese TV brands continued to increase inventory ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday shopping season, the US research firm said.

Revenues from smaller flat panels, such as those used in tablets and smartphones, are expected to increase at a faster quarterly rate of 9 percent, fueled by rising demand for Apple Inc’s iPad Mini and growing demand from China, IEK forecast.

AUO and Chimei shares fell 2.22 percent and 1.35 percent yesterday to NT$11 and NT$10.95 respectively.

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