Flat-panel maker AU Optronics Corp. (2409-TW) announced its April operating performance on Tuesday (May 10), reporting revenue of NT$20.22 billion, down 27.9% month-over-month and 31.7% year-over-year. In light of global economic uncertainties, such as war and inflation, and high channel inventory levels, total panel shipments reached 1.578 million square meters in April, a decrease of 24.4% from March.
AUO indicated that the strict control measures in East China in April resulted in disruptions in the Kunshan and Suzhou plants. Upstream raw material supply and other challenges necessitated production load shedding, affecting about 3-4% of production capacity. Downstream customers were also affected by the closures.
Although the outbreak in China is gradually slowing down with the lifting of restrictions in some areas, AUO believes that it will take some time to return to normal.
AUO chairman Paul Peng remarked that even though the market is full of uncontrollable factors that are hard to predict, AUO is investing in capital expenditure for revenue contribution next year, including high-end capacity layout.
The panel industry again jumped out of the traditional boom cycle this year, said Paul Peng. Disturbed by interest rate hikes, inflation, war, and other uncertainties, he added that it is still impossible to predict when the bottom will turn around.
But it is expected that all manufacturers will be more disciplined in management in the face of rising inventories and declining profits and hope that the overall industry inventory will return to an equilibrium level.