[THE INVESTOR] Korean display maker LG Display said on Jan. 30 its net earnings swung to a loss last year due to a drop in large LCD panel prices.
The company, which has vowed to speed up the transition from LCD to OLED panels this year, logged 179 billion won (US$160 million) in net deficit in 2018, compared with a net profit of 1.9 billion won from a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Its annual operating profit tumbled 96.2 percent on-year to 92.9 billion won, and sales dropped 12.4 percent to 24.3 trillion won.
“The net loss was attributable to the falling prices of large LCD panels,” the company said.
In the fourth quarter, LGD’s net jumped 250 percent to 152.6 billion won, rising from dismal profit numbers posted a year earlier.
Its operating profit soared 528 percent to 279.3 billion won, while sales slipped 3 percent to 6.95 trillion won in the last three months of 2018.
The company said increased capital spending for OLED production facilities cut its profitability in the fourth quarter.
LGD has been expanding investment in OLED panels to shift from the traditional LCD panels that have been plagued by falling demand and global supply glut in recent years.
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.
While demand for OLEDs have been picking up pace, LG Display anticipated the overall display market to remain tepid in the coming months due to downbeat demand and seasonal trends.
This year, LGD said it will speed up the transition from LCD to OLED to get a bigger share of the premium TV and smartphone market.
“We will wrap up preemptive investment for future business within this year to take a lead in the OLED market and create stable profits,” said LGD CFO Seo Dong-hee.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (email@example.com)