TFT LCD glass returns to healthy production

TFT LCD glass manufacture and demand is returning to more sustainable ratios after a turbulent period that saw shortfalls and surpluses since 2008.

The news comes from a recent DisplaySearch report that forecasts demand will grow in 2010 to hit 278 million square metres, up 15 per cent from 242 million square metres shipped in 2009. The research body says following a slump in demand at the end of 2008, shipments returned to “a more typical seasonal pattern”.

Tadashi Uno, director of materials and components market research at DisplaySearch, authored the report and said: “Glass manufacturers have learned from the recession in Q4’08 and Q1’09, and as a result, have adjusted their business models to minimise new tank investment. They are now concentrating on increasing capacity of existing tanks and demand.”

Glass substrate supply has been tight or in shortage since Q2’09. “With strong glass substrate demand, DisplaySearch doesn’t foresee any significant price reductions in the near future, making the TFT LCD glass substrate business a profitable sector in the future,” Uno added.

Looking at the market in terms of area, Samsung Corning Precision (SCP) scooped a 33 per cent market share in the last quarter of 2009. Hot on its heels came AGC with 25 per cent and Corning and NEG followed with 19 and 18 per cent respectively. DisplaySearch notes that SCP’s lead is entirely due to the strength of Korean TFT LCD producers, whereas AGC and Corning are closely matched in Japan and Taiwan.