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Fri, Jan 13, 2006 - Page 12 News List

LG Philips reports huge increase in quarterly profits

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LG Philips LCD Co, the world's second-largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, reported fourth-quarter profit jumped ninefold, beating analysts' estimates, on demand for flat-panel televisions.

Net income in the fourth quarter jumped to 328 billion won (US$337 million), compared with 35 billion won a year earlier, while group sales rose 53 percent to 3 trillion won, the Seoul-based company said today in a regulatory filing.

LG Philips and larger rival Samsung Electronics Co are now benefiting as lower prices for flat-screen TVs and sporting events including the soccer World Cup spur demand in the US$42 billion LCD industry. The company also cut production costs, helping it cope with a glut of computer monitor screens.

Operating profit surged to 334 billion won from 2 billion won a year earlier, the company said.

Average LCD prices during the quarter fell to US$2,112 per square meter, compared with US$2,304 a year earlier, the company said. Prices at the end of March will probably fall by about 5 percent from the end of last year, LG Philips said.

The company forecast spending to fall to 4.2 trillion won this year, from 4.4 trillion won last year.

Global sales of LCDs used in computers and televisions rose 17 percent to US$42 billion last year and may gain 12 percent this year, according to estimates for last month by iSuppli Corp.

Sales of the panels used in televisions, the fastest-growing segment, will probably climb by 40 percent this year after surging by 87 percent last year, according to the El Segundo, California-based researcher.

Samsung Electronics last month said that its fourth-quarter earnings from LCDs would beat the company's earlier projections because of greater-than-expected TV demand.

Samsung and LG Philips said earlier this month that they began production at their newest LCD plants ahead of schedule to meet TV demand. Sharp Corp, the world's largest maker of LCD TV sets, said last month that it would expand production capacity by more than 10 percent by as early as March.

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