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LG Display posts strong Q1 profit on panel price boost

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Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee
·2-min read
A man walks out of the headquarters of LG Display in Seoul
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By Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's LG Display Co Ltd on Wednesday swung to a profit for the January-March quarter, its third consecutive quarterly profit, helped by rising panel prices driven by TV and laptop demand as people stayed at home.

However, but a shortage of semiconductors threatens production for the months ahead, analysts said.

The display maker that supplies Apple Inc reported an operating profit of 523 billion won ($469.76 million) for the first quarter compared with an operating loss of 362 billion won in the same period a year earlier.

That topped the 443 billion won expected by analysts, Refinitiv SmartEstimate data showed.

Revenue rose 46% to 6.9 trillion won, LG Display said in a regulatory filing.

"The demand for large-size displays such as TVs and IT products remained strong in the first quarter thanks in large part to the recent stay-at-home trend, although the first quarter typically tends to be a slow season," LG said in a statement.

LG added that panels for IT devices accounted for 40% of its revenue in the first quarter, panels for TVs accounted for 31%, and mobile and other devices for 29%.

Prices of LG Display's mainstay, 55-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) panels for TV sets, jumped nearly 80% from a year earlier, according to data from WitsView, part of research provider TrendForce.

While panel prices are expected to stay strong backed by robust demand, analysts said a shortage of semiconductor parts, especially display driver integrated circuits (DDI) used for LG's plastic organic light emitting diode (POLED) panels supplied for Apple's iPhones, had been affected in the first quarter.

The shortage of DDIs is likely to continue in the second quarter, they said.

($1 = 1,113.3300 won)

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee, editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)