LG Display Co., the world’s second-largest maker of liquid-crystal displays, reported its first loss in seven quarters after prices declined amid the global recession and the company booked a fine for conspiring to fix prices.
The fourth-quarter net loss was 684 billion won (US$504 million), compared with profit of 760 billion won a year earlier, LG Display said yesterday. Sales, including those of overseas affiliates, fell 3.8 percent to 4.16 trillion won.
LG Display, Sharp Corp and AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) cut output as the global recession erodes demand for flat-panel televisions and personal computers and panel prices slump. LG Display will probably stay unprofitable at least until the first half of this year because of weaker prices and demand, according to BNP Paribas SA, Credit Suisse Group AG and Citigroup Inc.
“It’s still not the time to buy LCD shares,” said Ahn Sung-ho, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities Co in Seoul with a “hold” rating on LG Display. He spoke before the earnings were reported.
“Supply growth could accelerate again if panel prices stabilize, while demand remains weak,” he said.
LG Display was expected to report a loss of 574.5 billion won on sales of 3.99 trillion won, according to the median of 14 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey.
The company forecast the possibility of further price declines in the first quarter will be “limited” and said it will return to profit in March as industry prices recover.
The company will record an operating loss this month and next month, contributing to a first-quarter deficit “similar” to that in the last three months of last year, chief financial officer James Jeong said at a briefing in Seoul yesterday.