AU Optronics Corp. ("AUO" or the "Company") (TAIEX: 2409; NYSE: AUO) today held a meeting of the Board of Directors and Supervisors, at which the Board approved its unaudited financial results for the nine months ended September 30, 2003. Both consolidated net sales and pre-tax income for 3Q 2003 set the record high quarterly performance for a single quarter. Consolidated net sales reached NT$28,371 million in the third quarter of 2003, with net income amounted to NT$4,989 million and fully diluted EPS of NT$1.15. Unconsolidated revenues for the third quarter 2003 were NT$26,335 million.
For the first nine months ended September 30, 2003, unaudited consolidated net sales totaled NT$70,481 million, net income NT$8,094 million and fully dilated EPS NT$1.87. All figures are unaudited and are prepared by the Company in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in Taiwan ("ROC GAAP").
"AUO strives to become the world's top TFT LCD player with leading operational efficiency. Through our concerted effort on technology development, costs control, product mix and capacity allocation optimization, and customer portfolio enhancement, we have further solidified our leadership in Taiwan while significantly strengthening our global competitiveness. Not only was AUO able to outperform our peers in Taiwan by a wide margin for 1H’03 under a slow business environment, we continue to post solid growth during an industry recovery, as evidenced by the Company's strong 3Q'03 results. AUO's consolidated gross margin improved significantly from 19.3% in 2Q'03 to 25.8% in 3Q'03, net margin rose from 12.3% to 17.6%, and operating income posted a strong 74.5% sequential growth to reach NT$5,204 million." Said HB Chen, President and COO of AU Optronics.
Dr. Hui Hsiung, EVP and head of AUO Business Unit, further elaborated, "With overall demand for TFT-LCDs continuing to grow in 3Q'03 and ASPs remaining stable, unit shipment for AUO's large size panels increased 13.2% QoQ to over 3.1 million in 3Q'03, and unit shipment for small and medium size panels also posted a remarkable 61.3% sequential growth to over 7.6 million. The healthy shipment growth is mainly attributed to new capacity from AUO's Phase I Gen 5 fab (L8A, 1,100x1,250mm) currently in the ramp-up process. Monthly input capacity of Fab L8A has increased to 35,000 substrates in September and is expected to reach full capacity of 50,000 substrates by the end of 2003. Phase II of our Gen 5 fab (L8B, 1,100x1,300mm) will start mass production by end of 1Q’04, and is scheduled to reach full capacity of 70,000 substrates per month by end of 3Q’04. AUO's combined Gen 5 input capacity is expected to reach 120,000 substrates per month by then. In addition, AUO's in-house Gen 5 color fab (C1, 1,100x1,300mm) has commenced volume production in October, and is scheduled to reach monthly 30,000 substrates capacity by end of this year."