* AU sees no reason for a gloomy outlook
* Prices have fallen a lot, consumers will still buy
By Baker Li
HSINCHU, Taiwan, March 19 Taiwan's AU Optronics
Corp (2409.TW), the world's third-largest LCD maker, said on
Thursday it has little reason to be downbeat on this year's
outlook, despite gloomier forecasts from its two bigger rivals.
AU Optronics' comments comes days after South Korea's Samsung
Electronics (005930.KS) and LG Display (034220.KS), the world's
top two makers of large LCDs, said they were bracing for a tough
year and were cautious on any near-term recovery in the battered
"There is no reason to be pessimistic. Prices have fallen
quite significantly from last year through this year so far," AU
(AUO.N) Chief Executive Officer L.J. Chen said when asked by
reporters at a company event about the outlook later this year.
"People feel that prices are quite low now. They will be
cautious, but I don't think they will stop buying."
He did not specify whether he was referring to shipments or
prices for his company, which posted a record loss for the
Some of Taiwan's technology companies have been enjoying a
spate of rush orders from China, where the government is pushing
a programme to introduce more electronics goods to smaller
Last week, AU's biggest local rival, Chi Mei Optoelectronics
3009.TW forecast its LCD panel shipments would rise 20 percent
this year with help from Chinese government policy to boost rural
consumer spending on electronics [ID:nSHA248213]
Taiwan's top contract chipmakers, TSMC (2330.TW), also
recently raised its first-quarter guidance due to rush orders
from China. [ID:nTP219809]
In January, AU said it expected TV panel shipments and
average selling prices to be roughly flat in the first quarter
compared with the previous three months.
AU said its PC panel shipments will likely fall 20 percent in
the first quarter from the fourth, but average selling prices
would be slightly up.
Chen's comments came after the Taipei stock market closed on
Thursday. AU shares rose 2.15 percent, outperforming the main
TAIEX's .TWII 0.23 percent drop.
AU, Chi Mei and other smaller Taiwan firms supply most of
their liquid crystal displays to top PC brands such as Dell
DELL.O and Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) and some TV vendors in
Japan and South Korea.
(Additional reporting by Argin Chang, Editing by Jacqueline