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BOE turns corner as LCD demand lifts
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BOE Technology Group Co will turn from red to black this year, its first annual profit since 2004, the country's biggest maker of liquid-crystal display panels said yesterday.


BOE, which reported a profitable third quarter, attributed the growth to surging demand for computer and television LCD panels and price increases.


Shenzhen-listed BOE posted a net profit of 420.5 million yuan (US$56.23 million), or 0.14 yuan a share, compared with a loss of 883.5 million yuan, or 0.31 yuan a year earlier, BOE said in a public statement.


Revenue rose to 3.24 billion yuan in the third quarter from 2.39 billion yuan a year ago, the Beijing-based firm said.


The company expects its whole-year profit will reach 750 million to 900 million yuan in 2007 compared with a loss of 2.95 billion yuan last year and 1.45 billion yuan in 2005.


BOE's share price jumped 3.86 percent to 11.30 yuan yesterday.


"LCD panels are in short supply in China amid surging demand for computers, TV and portable electronic equipment with LCD screens," Ding Wenwu, a senior official of the Ministry of Information Industry, said in a recent interview.


Last month, BOE said it will raise about six billion yuan through selling bonds to build a small-sized LCD-panel production line and repay debt.


The move is seen as a forerunner to the consolidation of the LCD panel industry, which is expected to eventuate by the end of this year.


BOE said last year it will merge a unit that makes LCD panels for PCs and TVs with rival SVA Group, pooling resources to make large TV screens.


BOE won't invest on larger-sized lines as originally scheduled to avoid duplicated investment because Shanghai-based SVA Group has already announced it will invest US$6 billion on the new advanced lines.


"Small size doesn't mean lack of profit," said Liu Ruilin, president of Tianma Microelectronics Co Ltd, which also makes small LCD panels. "The TV and monitor LCD panel market is too crowded and risky."


BOE estimates worldwide sales of LCD panels for handsets will almost double to US$14.5 billion in 2010 from US$8.34 billion in 2005.



(Shanghai Daily October 30, 2007)


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