LG Display reports record Q4 profits with panel prices seen rising further

A man walking out of the headquarters of LG Display in Seoul, on Oct 20, 2011.
A man walking out of the headquarters of LG Display in Seoul, on Oct 20, 2011.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korea's LG Display said on Tuesday (Jan 24) its fourth-quarter operating profit nearly doubled from a year earlier to its quarterly record due to a pickup in panel prices.

The world's biggest liquid crystal display (LDC) maker said the all-time high profit was caused by the upward trend of panel prices and a favorable foreign exchange rate.

"The upwards trend of panel prices is anticipated to continue thanks to the low inventory level in the industry and the trends towards large-size panels," Chief Financial Officer Don Kim said in a statement.

The price of television LCDs larger than 32 inches has been rising for 10 months, according to data provider WitsView last week.

Analysts said the rise was mainly due to supply-side factors such as rival Samsung Display's shutdown of an LCD fabrication plant last year, causing a tight supply-demand environment.

The world's biggest liquid crystal display maker said October-December operating profit was 904.3 billion won (S$1.1 billion), beating a Thomson Reuters StarMine SmartEstimate of 845 billion won drawn from a survey of 27 analysts.

Revenue for the quarter rose 18 per cent from a year earlier to 7.9 trillion won, LG said.

LG Display, which supplies screens for Apple iPhones and LG Electronics' TV sets, said earlier this month it was in talks with Samsung Electronics about a supply agreement for TV panels.