First Quarter 2006 Unaudited Consolidated Financial Highlights
AU Optronics Corp. ("AUO"or the "Company") (TAIEX: 2409; NYSE: AUO) today announced unaudited results for 1Q2006. For the first quarter ended March 31, 2006, AUO's consolidated revenue totaled NT$66.3 billion (US$2.0 billion*), net income NT$6.7 billion, and basic EPS NT$1.14 per common share (US$0.35 per ADR unit).
Gross margin for the first quarter declined 5.5 percentage points to 16.7%. This brought operating margin to 12.0% and EBITDA margin to 27.9%. Mr. Max Cheng, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of AUO noted that overall industry experiences seasonal weakness as well as supply & demand imbalance. 1Q2006 panel shipments are much in line to the Company's initial guidance, large-size panel declined 2.3% QoQ to 9.4 million and small- and medium-size panel declined slightly by 0.8% post 15.8 million. Panel Average Selling Price by square meter, is a bit weaker than the Company anticipated, declined by about 11.9% sequentially. The higher-than-expected panel pricing declines are mitigated by better product mix, customer portfolio, remarkable market gain on the LCD TV business, cost competitiveness, manufacturing capability, and innovative designs. TV segment has substantially grown from 27% of revenue in 4Q2005 to 35% in 1Q2006.
On a sequential comparison, first quarter revenue declined 9.0% and net income decreased 42.0%. On the year-over-year comparison, first quarter results represents a 70.6% increase in revenue, while net income turned from loss of NT$2.1 billion to profit of NT$6.7 billion.
In response to the trend towards larger-sized TFT-LCD TVs in the market, AUO plans to deploy a new investment plan in Houli, the Central Taiwan Science Park near the city of Taichung, where at least G7.5 or next-generation fabrication facilities will be built to cope with the brisk demand for large-sized TFT-LCD TVs. In its initial phase, AUO's new G7.5 line in Taichung Houli is expected to begin volume production with a monthly capacity to process 60,000 glass substrates. As for plans to construct G8 or even more advanced facilities, AUO may in appropriate times announce the Company's plan depending on the pace of market demand. AUO has major competitive advantages with its comprehensive product lines, allowing for maximum flexibility in producing LCD TV panels. After its recent merger with Quanta Display Inc., AUO will be able to leverage the core competency advantages of both sides to not only increase production capacity but also better seize ever-shifting market opportunities.
*Amounts converted by an exchange rate of NTD32.42:USD1 as of March 31, 2006.