LCD Panel Maker Chi Mei Posts Record Loss

Chi Mei Group, the Taiwan-based LCD panel manufacturer, has announced that it made net losses of USD923 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, which is the greatest quarterly loss of an individual company in the history of the panel industry.

Affected by the financial crisis, contracts received by the panel industry declined significantly in the fourth quarter of 2008, leading to a price stumble and enlarged losses on inventory. Chi Mei says its inventory losses in the entire year of 2008 reached USD447 million, of which, USD88.18 million were made in the first three quarters and USD360 million were made in the fourth quarter.

Ho Jau-yang, general manager for Chi Mei Optoelectronics, says that it is still unclear that when the panel industry can revive, but the company will take all efforts to overcome the difficulties. Chi Mei says its expenditures in 2009 will be about USD880 million and its inventory will be controlled below USD735 million. The inventory period for LCD panels will be limited to one month; that of TV panels will be six weeks; and information and electronic products targeted at one month.

Chi Mei predicts that in the first quarter of 2009, its shipment of TV panels will increase 5%; shipment of notebook panels will decrease 20%; monitor panels will increase 15%; and medium and small-sized panels will decrease 20%.

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