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 results of operations for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2004. The Company also released unaudited results for 4Q 2004 and FY 2004. All financial information was unaudited and was prepared by the Company in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in Taiwan ("ROC GAAP").
For the year of 2004, AUO's consolidated revenues set a new record to reach NT$168,112 million (US$ 5,297 million), a 60.3% increase from FY 2003. Net income for FY2004 grew 78.5% to NT$27,959 million (US$ 881 million) from the previous year. Basic EPS set a new record to reach NT$5.82 (US$0.18 per common share and US$1.83 per ADS) for 2004.
"Despite a particularly difficult business environment in 2H 2004, AUO was able to achieve both record sales and net profit for FY 2004, the best performance since the Company's inception and the highest achieved ever in Taiwan's TFT-LCD industry." Said Mr. Max Cheng, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of AU Optronics Corp. "This performance is attributed to AUO's remarkable execution capability, product mix management, customer portfolio, cost competitiveness, manufacturing capability, technology, R&D and design know-how. As a result, our ROE improved from 16.9% in 2003 to 21.4% in 2004." The management also achieved considerable success in managing production costs and working capital management, which resulted in notable 24.2% reduction in inventory and the inventory turnover days were reduced from 56 days at the end of 3Q04 to 44 days at the end of 4Q04.
AUO's large size panel shipment (10" and above) also posted strong growth, supported by the Company's 5G fab capacity. Shipment of large size panels reached 18.9 million, up 59.0% YoY. The company also managed to maintain the leading global position for 19" panels for PC Monitor application and reach 2.6 million units in 2004. Shipment of small- and medium-sized panels (mostly for consumer application) broke the 30 million mark to exceed 33.3 million, a 54.9% growth from 2003.
"LCD TV is expected to be a key growth driver for the year 2005." Dr. Hui Hsiung, Executive Vice President of AU Optronics Corp. pointed out. "AUO's LCD TV business will also reflect its well thought out strategy, as revealed by our 48% QoQ growth in LCD TV revenues in 4Q04." The Company is expected to play an important role in the fast emerging LCD TV market, supported by its strong research and development, design capability, product and process technology, and enhanced production efficiency from its G6 fab (1,500 x 1,850mm), which is expected to commence mass production in March 2005 and is expected to reach design capacity of 60,000 substrates per month by the end of 2005. The Company has successfully turned on the first 32"W LCD TV panel in January 2005 by its G6 fab, following its first success of 19" monitor panel by its G6 fab in November 2004. The timely capacity expansion contributed by the Company's G6 fab is expected to be instrumental to its business opportunity in the LCD TV sector.
Safe Harbour Notice
Except for statements in respect of historical matters, the statements contained in this Release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements were based on our management's expectations, projections and beliefs at the time regarding matters including, among other things, future revenues and costs, financial performance, technology changes, capacity, utilization rates, yields, process and geographical diversification, future expansion plans and business strategy. Such forward looking statements are subject to a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that can cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements, including risks related to the flat panel display industry, the TFT-LCD market, acceptance and demand for our products, technological and development risks, competitive factors, and other risks described in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in our Form F-3 filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on June 17, 2004.