LG Display third-quarter profit surges 80 percent to beat expectations

By Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd said third-quarter operating profit surged about 80 percent, beating market expectations, on the back of a recovery in panel prices and increased demand for mobile devices ahead of the holidays.

It also forecast increased demand for panels in the current quarter.

Operating profit for July-September came in at 586 billion won ($519 million), better than an average 567 billion won forecast drawn from 15 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“We expect area base panel shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017 to increase by a mid-single digit percent, quarter-on-quarter, thanks to high seasonality at the end of 2017 and thanks also to the demand in the Chinese New Year in early 2018,” Chief Financial Officer Don Kim said in a statement.

Strong demand for TVs spurred a spike in panel prices last year, helping LG Display log record profits in the first quarter of 2017 but this year panel prices have started to decline.

According to data provider WitsView, prices of television LCD panels larger than 43 inches began falling in May, with the pace of declines tending to accelerate from the end of the second quarter.

But LG Display said it expects overall price erosion to slow in the fourth quarter, though this will depend upon demand for each product.

($1 = 1,129.5100 won)

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)