Paula Yu, Taipei; Alex Wolfgram, DIGITIMES [Tuesday 25 September 2012]
TFT-LCD panel prices have been decreasing in recent times due to oversupply and global economic instability. This has caused product prices in drop in upstream supply chains and companies such as Corning and Asahi Glass have been reporting declines in revenues.
In the second quarter of 2012, Corning's revenues from display products dropped to US$641 million while its net profits decreased to US$371 million. However, during the same period the company's revenues from specialized materials rose 3% to US$296 million and net profits were at US$34 million, up 62% on quarter. This shows that specialized materials, at present, have more development potential and that Corning will most likely continue to research and develop its special glass products such as the Lotus Glass and Willow Glass series for use in displays in order to keep expanding its revenues.
Meanwhile, price drops for Asahi Glass's TFT LCD panels that use glass have been slowing down while shipments have returned to a steady course. As a result, the company's overall revenues and operating profits in its electronics segment both increased in the second quarter of 2012, with displays that use glass increasing 7% on-quarter to US$900 million. This accounted for the company's highest revenues during that time period as well as 24% of the company's overall electronics revenues.
However, as the TFT-LCD industry is moving towards higher resolution and thinner features and as panel makers are developing OLED displays, Asahi is continuing to develop specialized displays that use glass. On the other hand, as the Japanese yen is fluctuating and as there is oversupply in downstream panel segment, Asahi is putting emphasis on lowering costs for TFT-LCDs that use glass.