UPDATE 1-Taiwan AU’s turnaround fans optimism over LCD demand

* Q1 net profit T$7.27 bln vs T$20.2 bln loss year ago

* Market estimates pegged profit at T$3.6 billion

* New PC, TV models set to spur new display demand

* Stock up 1 pct before results
(Adds comments)

TAIPEI, April 22 (BestGrowthStock) – AU Optronics Corp (2409.TW: ),
Taiwan’s No.2 LCD maker, returned to profit in the first quarter
after strong demand boosted sales and prices of its displays for
computers and flat-screen TVs.

The outlook is bright for AU Optronics’ (AUO.N: ) as new
laptops and thinner TV models with power-saving backlights sell
well worldwide.

Major LCD makers in Asia have reported brisk demand recently
as economies recover, with China leading the way. However
concerns have grown the sector might be saddled with oversupply
if display makers aggressively ramp up output.

“Although the first quarter was the traditional low season,
we have seen relative stable panel prices thanks to recovering
global demand and healthy inventory levels in the channel,” AU
CFO Andy Yang said in a statement on Thursday.

South Korea’s LG Display (034220.KS: ), the world’s No.2 LCD
maker, is set to report later on Thursday an operating profit of
604 billion won ($544 million) in January-March versus a deep
loss a year ago and up 70 percent from the previous quarter,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

A supplier to top brands such as Dell Inc (DELL.O: ),
Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: ) and Sony Corp (6758.T: ), AU Optronics
booked a net profit of T$7.3 billion ($233 million) in
January-March.

That compared with a net loss of T$20.2 billion a year ago
and a net loss of T$7.9 billion in the last quarter of 2009. AU
was expected to report a first-quarter net profit of T$3.6
billion, according to the consensus forecast by Thomson Reuters
I/B/E/S.

Newly merged Chimei Innolux (3481.TW: ), which overtook AU as
Taiwan’s No.1 and the world’s No.3 LCD maker in March, is set to
report quarterly earnings later this month.

Before the results, AU’s Taipei-listed shares rose 0.97
percent, while the main TAIEX index (.TWII: ) lost 0.15 percent.

So far this year, the stock has fallen about 10 percent on
worries over weaker panel prices in the traditional slow season
in the second quarter. The TAIEX lost 3.5 percent in the same
period.

Stock Market Advice

(US$1=T$31.4)
(Reporting by Baker Li, Editing by Anshuman Daga)

UPDATE 1-Taiwan AU’s turnaround fans optimism over LCD demand