AUO 1Q19 Operation Swings Into Loss

TFT-LCD panel maker AU Optronics (AUO) released financial report for the first quarter of 2019 at an April 25 investor conference, suffering net operating loss of NT$5.1 billion (US$165 million).

The net operating loss was mainly because oversupply of handset- and TV-use panels resulted in drops in price and short supply of CPUs led to decreased shipments of IT-use panels in the first quarter, company chairman and CEO Paul Peng said. The oversupply arose from China-based makers’ bringing into operation 10.5th-generation production capacities, Peng noted.

Currently, prices for sub-50-inch TV panels have begun to pick up as they have previously fallen below the level of costs. However prices of 65-inch and above TV panels are likely to stay at a low level as China-based makers will continue to increase output, Peng indicated. For business outlook for the second quarter, AUO expects shipments for large-size panels to remain flat or slightly increase on quarter and those for small- to medium-size panels to grow 11-13% sequentially.

AUO shipped panels of a total area of 6.342 million square meters with an average selling price of US$312 per square meter in the first quarter. The shipments consisted of 25.87 million large-size panels, decreasing 9.1% on quarter and 9.4% on year, and 24.96 million small- to medium-size panels, slipping 22.4% on quarter and 46.4% on year. The average inventory turnover rate in the first quarter was 37 days.

In terms of applications, LCD TVs accounted for 39% of the sales revenues from panels in the first quarter, LCD monitors for 17%, tablets and other mobile devices for 24% and commercial displays and others for 20%. As for panel sizes, sub-10-inch panels accounted for 16% of the sales revenues, 10- to sub-20-inch models for 28%, 20- to sub-39-inch models for 19%, 39- to sub-50-inch models for 11% and 50-inch and above for 26%.

AUO will continue focusing on mini LED-backlit panel development for the time being and has been shipping the panels for high-end business-use devices since the fourth quarter of 2018.―Digitimes

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