LG Display Q1 loss widens amid falling LCD prices

Las Vegas: The world's first rollable OLED TVs from LG Electronics are on display at the tech firm's booth for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 7, 2019. The company touts the product for freeing up space by no longer requiring room to be set aside full time for TVs.(Yonhap/IANS)

South Korean display maker LG Display Co has said its losses widened in the first quarter from a year ago due to low LCD panel prices.

LG Display logged 63 billion won ($55 million) in net losses in the January-March period, compared with 49 billion won in losses a year earlier, the firm said in a regulatory filing, Yonhap news agency reported.

The company booked 132 billion won in operating losses, while sales rose 4 per cent on-year to 5.88 trillion won, in the first three months of this year, the company said.

The average price of the firm’s 50-inch LCD for TVs dropped 23 per cent on-year in the first quarter, according to WitsView, a division of TrendForce.

The quarterly loss also comes as the panel maker has been expanding investment in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels to shift from the traditional liquid crystal display (LCD) panels that have been plagued by falling demand and supply glut, partly from Chinese producers.

This year, LG Display said it will speed up the transition from LCD to OLED to get a bigger share of the premium TV and smartphone market.

“We need patience this year to overcome challenges as the business structure is transitioning to OLED,” Seo Dong-hee, the chief financial officer, said in a release. “We will develop various applications of OLED panels to enhance earnings.”

The company shipped 2.9 million units of large OLED panels last year, which accounted for over 20 percent of its total sales, turning to surplus for the first time in five years since the panels’ launch.

LG Display plans to start operation of a new OLED plant in China’s Guangzhou in the third quarter to ramp up production in the key market.

The company earlier said it will roll out 60,000 OLED sheets per month at the Guangzhou factory in the initial stage, which would increase its total monthly OLED sheet output capacity to 130,000 units this year when combined with its production line at its South Korean factory in Paju, north of Seoul.