* Production cut will be smaller than industry average
* Unlikely to meet strong iPad demand at least until Q2 2011
SEOUL, July 23 (Reuters) - LG Display (034220.KS) may cut production of its liquid crystal displays (LCD) next month due to weak demand from TV makers but is unable to meet strong demand tied to Apple’s iPad tablet computer, its chief executive said.
“We are now running at full capacity but we are considering production cuts in August,” LG Display CEO Kwon Young-soo told reporters. “The level of reduction will be smaller than the industry average.”
The effect of southern Europe’s debt crises is the only major concern for LG Display but Kwon said overall demand for LCD may pick up along with flat panel prices from September. LG Display reported Thursday its second-quarter operating profit more than doubled to 726 billion won ($603.5 million). [ID:nTOE66J041]
“We expect the market to improve from September and prices to stabilise,” Kwon said.
The company is a supplier to Apple’s iPad, which has sold 3.47 million units since its April launch, and Kwon said LG Display was unable to meet growing demand from Apple.
“Demand (from Apple) keeps growing and we can’t meet it all. Apple may have to delay launches of the iPad for some countries due to tight component supplies and strong demand.
“We are considering increasing production lines for iPad products but overall supply is likely to remain tight until early next year.”
Apple said this week it planned to start selling the iPad in nine new international markets on Friday, making the device available in a total of 19 countries. [ID:nN19117325]
Analysts expect iPad demand to accelerate in the coming quarters. Research firm iSuppli raised this week its forecast for iPad sales by 82 percent to nearly 13 million units this year.
LG Display, which plans 5.5 trillion won in investment this year, announced on Thursday a 618 billion won investment plan to boost production capacity for small-sized flat screens used in mobile phones and tablet PCs.
Kwon’s comments were made late on Thursday and embargoed until Friday morning.
Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner