Small/Medium LCD Panel to Increase in Second Quarter 2009

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DigiTimes is reporting that AU Optronics (AUO) and Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), the two largest LCD manufacturers in Taiwan, are expecting small/medium LCD shipments to increase in the second quarter of 2009 (Q2’09). AUO is forecasting that its small/medium LCD panel shipments will increase 30% quarter over quarter (Q/Q) while CMO is expecting a more modest increase of 5-10% Q/Q. CMO’s expectations are less aggressive partly due to having already experienced a strong Q1’09.

First quarter small/medium LCD panel shipments were not positive. AUO experienced a 10% Q/Q decline but up 14% Y/Y to 42.93 million units. Revenues decreased 40% Q/Q to NT$6 billion.

CMO’s Q1’09 results for small/medium LCD panels were more positive with a 11% Q/Q growth to 23.23 million units but with a 3% Y/Y decline. Revenues declined to about NT$1.7 billion in Q1’09.

iPhone Effect My guess is that AUO nor CMO is involved in supplying Apple with 3.5″ TFT LCDs for the iPhone. But there will be what I call an “iPhone Effect”. The next iPhone will debut in June, just a couple of months away. When June comes around the interest toward multitouch-capable smartphones will increase thanks to the iPhone. There are already several multitouch smartphones that will be introduced in June including Palm’s Pre. These smartphones should be ramping up in production right now and the demand for small/medium LCD panels for Q2’09 should result in significant increases for all major LCD manufacturers that build significant numbers of small/medium LCD panels.

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