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January 21, 2010

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New LCDs turn profit for LG Display

LG Display Co returned to profit in the fourth quarter of 2009 as higher prices helped boost sales after a United States price-fixing fine dragged it into the red.

LG Display, the world's second-largest manufacturer of liquid crystal displays used in flat screen televisions and other products, earned 478 billion won (US$420.7 million) in the three months ended on December 31, it said yesterday. The company posted a loss of 684 billion won a year earlier.

Sales during the quarter rose 46 percent to 6.1 trillion won from 4.16 trillion won a year earlier.

"Differentiated, customer-oriented marketing and swift ramp-up of new lines contributed to record high annual sales of over 20 trillion Korean won" in 2009, said LG Display CEO Kwon Young-soo.

The company's average selling price per square meter of display shipped, an industry benchmark, was US$809 in the fourth quarter, or 5.6 percent higher than the US$766 recorded in the same period the year before.

Seoul-based LG Display also said that it shipped a record high 6.23 million square meters of display area in the fourth quarter, up 61 percent from the 2008 period.

Looking ahead, LG Display offered no profit or sales forecasts but said it expects total display area shipments in the first quarter of 2010 to be similar to the final three months of last year. The company also said it expects the average selling price per square meter to remain flat.

LG Display's profit came after the company and its LG Display America unit were fined US$400 million as part of a Justice Department probe into price-fixing by LCD makers. The entire fine was reflected in earnings for the fourth quarter of 2008.

LG Display also makes LCDs used in computer monitors, laptops and cell phones.



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