AUO’s Q3 Profit Hits 17 Quarter High

AU Optronics’ third quarter net profit reached its highest level in 17 quarters at NT$7.3 billion ($240.3 million), 81.4% higher than Q2 and almost three times higher than its net profit of NT$2.5 billion ($82.3 million) in Q3 of last year.

AUO’s turnover in the third quarter was slightly lower year on year at NT$106.8 billion ($3.5 billion) from NT$107 billion ($3.5 billion) a year earlier, while turnover for the first nine months of the year reached NT$302.7 billion ($9.9 billion), with a net profit for the period of NT$11.5 billion ($378.6 million). Large panel shipments in Q3 increased 2.2% sequentially to 29.5 million units, while small and medium panel shipments rose 4.2% from Q2 to 48.2 million units.

The company said that, thanks to inventory stocking for the Golden Week Holiday in China and the traditional holiday season in Europe and the US, the overall panel supply and demand remained fairly tight. While the company’s fabs continued to be operated at full capacity, AUO has persistently switched its product mix to high value-added products and also managed to maximise the effectiveness of the capacity. Looking ahead, AUO sees demand for its products looking strong, despite a weaker shipments outlook.

Earlier in the week, it was reported that AUO had received another fine in the long-running, international price-fixing conspiracy which took place between 2001 and 2006. The US District Court for the Western District of Washington fined AUO $24 million in an antitrust civil litigation for its part in the LCD price-fixing cartel. There were unconfirmed reports to suggest that the plaintiff in this case was Costco, which was awarded around $37 million in damages from AUO and other LCD makers which were alleged to have taken part in the conspiracy.

Earlier this year AUO lost its appeal in the US courts against the $500 million fine handed down to the company by the US Department of Justice (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 29). The DoJ had originally wanted a $1 billion fine to be levied against AUO and that two former company executives serve 10 years in prison, for the company’s involvement in the cartel (Display Monitor Vol 19 No 37).