Panel firms’ sales slip on seasonal slump

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 - Page 5

The nation’s two leading flat panel makers on Friday reported a more than 10 percent decline in sales last month from December because of seasonally low demand.

Innolux Corp (群創光電), the nation’s top LCD panel maker, saw its consolidated revenue drop by 11.3 percent to NT$39.33 billion (US$1.32 billion) last month from NT$44.32 billion in December, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Innolux’s smaller rival AU Optronics Corp’s (AUO, 友達光電) consolidated revenue slid 10.8 percent to NT$28.595 billion from NT$32.05 billion a month earlier, AUO disclosed in a separate filing.

On an annual basis, the two companies both saw revenue grow substantially — Innolux’s revenue rose 26.1 percent year-on-year and AUO jumped 31.7 percent — but that was partially because of distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday, which was in January last year, but in February this year.

For this quarter, AUO president Paul Peng (彭雙浪) told investors on Thursday he expected sales this month to be low because of seasonally weak demand and fewer working days, but that sales would pick up next month for new model launches and because of customer restocking for a long Chinese holiday in May.

Both Innolux and AUO have been moving to production of larger panels and those used for niche TV sizes, including ultra-high-definition 4K TVs, which feature a resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, to improve profitability.

On Thursday, AUO reported a net loss of NT$13.17 billion in the October-to-December quarter for the ninth consecutive quarter. The Hsinchu-based company forecast improved performance this year as it plans to increase the number of value-added products including 4K TVs and high-end smartphone panels.

Miaoli-based Innolux, which had also posted continuous losses since the third quarter of 2010, said on Friday it is scheduled to hold a conference call on Feb. 26 to present last quarter’s results and its outlook for this quarter. Analysts have said they expect Innolux to report it broke even last quarter on improving sales and a better product mix.