27.03.09

TFT LCD shipments rally in Feb 2009

Early this year the TFT LCD market showed initial signs of recovery as shipments grew for the first time since September 2008. According to figures published by Display Search shipments of large-area TFT LCD panels reached 29.5 million units, showing month on month growth of 23 per cent. Revenues reached $2.96 billion (€2.2 billion), up 14 per cent from January.

The market research firm put February’s results down to increasing rush orders and an inventory refill from clients. However it did suggest they could also be an indication that the TFT LCD industry is at, or near, the bottom of the cycle.

DisplaySearch’s research found that LCD monitor panels had the highest month on month growth at 37 per cent, followed by notebook PC at 21 per cent and TV at 11 per cent. However, shipments are still lower than in February last year, and year on year decline is in double digits.

In terms of revenue, Samsung was the leader in large-area TFT LCD, with a 30.2 per cent market share, followed by LG Display at 26.8 per cent. On a shipment basis, Samsung also led with 26.7 per cent market share, followed closely by LG Display at 26.4 per cent. Both shares are the highest level for the leading suppliers in four years.

David Hsieh, vice president of DisplaySearch, said: “The February results are encouraging for panel makers as they reflect a rebound in demand. All TFT LCD manufacturers have suffered from declining shipments every month for the past half-year. We believe rush orders and inventory refill from downstream contributed to the surge in panel shipments.”

He added: “We previously noted that January 2009 could be the bottom of this cycle, and we believe March will show double-digit growth over February, as all panel makers are increasing capacity utilisation. The key challenge for panel makers is to evaluate the supply-demand balance, which will be determined by the amount of production increase and by whether the growth in demand is sustained in Q2’09.”