Wed, May 17, 2017 - Page 12 News List

TPK Holdings upbeat on OLED technology demand

BRANCHING OUT:TPK is teaming up with O-film in a bid to expand its business scope and client portfolio, particularly for touch modules for automobiles

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

TPK Holding Co Ltd (宸鴻), which supplies touch modules for Apple Inc smartwatches and iPads, yesterday predicted it would swing into the black for the whole of this year on the back of the adoption of a new type of touch modules for organic LED (OLED) technology.

After two years of technology and operational adjustments, TPK posted a quarterly operating profit of NT$120 million (US$3.98 million) in the first quarter, TPK founding chairman Michael Chiang (江朝瑞) told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting.

“TPK will continue to make operating profits in the remaining quarters of this year,” Chiang said. “As displays evolve toward using OLED and out-cell touch [technologies], we believe this would create a new business opportunity for TPK,” Chiang said, sparking speculation that TPK will once again become a touch module supplier for Apple iPhones.

TPK was a major touch module supplier of iPhones until 2014. Apple is widely expected to launch its latest iPhone series in the second half, with at least one of the new models to be equipped with an OLED screen.

Apart from out-cell touch modules, force touch modules, touch modules used in automobiles and those used in flexible displays are to be major driving forces for the company in the medium term, Chiang said.

“Those [touch technologies] are to be lucrative businesses for TPK. However, it is not something we can achieve in one or two years. It will happen in three to five years instead,” Chiang said.

To cash in on growth opportunities, the company is forming a strategic partnership with Chinese peer O-film Tech Co (歐菲光),

Through the partnership, TPK aims to expand its business scope and client portfolio, especially for touch modules for automobiles, including self-driving vehicles, he said.

O-film primarily manufactures touch film sensors and has built a substantial presence in China’s automotive display market, which is supplementary to TPK, he said.

Over the past two years TPK’s revenues from touch modules for automobiles grew at an annual rate of 30 percent, he said.

The firm’s revenue contribution from automotive touch modules is expected to increase to a mid-single-digit percentage from just 1 or 2 percent of its overall revenue, TPK said.

TPK supplies touch modules to Tesla Inc and General Motors Corp.

It said it expects to secure orders from German automobile brands in the second half.

TPK shareholders yesterday approved the issuance of as many as 85 million common shares. The share sale includes the offering of 20 million common shares to O-film, which the companies agreed to in March.

As part of the agreement, TPK is to form a joint venture with O-film in China in the second half to explore business opportunities.

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