AU Optronics Corp. ("AUO" or the "Company") (TAIEX: 2409; NYSE: AUO) announced today that the employee hospitalized for high body temperature on May 5, 2003 has been cleared of SARS infection based on medical examination results. The 20 fellow employees that were under home quarantine hence have returned to work.
AUO Management reiterates the suspected SARS case has had no impact on the Company's business and operational activities.
The aforementioned employee, who works in the non-production area of AU Optronics' Lungtan office building, was hospitalized on May 5, 2003 due to high body temperature. The Company immediately disinfected the entire office building and requested all employees recently had contact with this employee to take home quarantine as a precautionary measure.
The company indicates that body temperature of the hospitalized employee has returned to normal levels since the morning of May 7 while the employee has responded well to medical treatment. Doctors have ruled out the possibility of a probable SARS case and concluded that this employee's symptoms are caused by a bacteria related infection. The 20 fellow employees that have been quarantined at home are also reporting good health conditions and hence have come back to work.
AU Optronics is fully committed to take all necessary measures in providing a safe working environment for its employees. Despite the false alarm, AUO will continue to enforce the strict precautionary measures against SARS that have been implemented since late April, such as mandatory body temperature checks, entrance control, and business/personal travel restrictions.
AUO currently has three 3.5G fabs and one R&D fab located in Hsinchu, one 4G fab and one 5G fab located in Lungtang. The two bases provide AUO an inherent advantage of risk diversification while other companies might need to seek a second location to isolate their production bases. In addition, AUO has segregated each of its production, sales, marketing and R&D divisions into two groups and certain measures have been implemented to avoid physical contacts between the two groups, to further minimize potential negative impact from SARS on the Company's business and operational activities.
Mr. Frank Wu, AUO's VP of Administration said "some might think AUO was overly cautious in handling this incident, but we feel the best way to relieve our employees, customers, vendors and shareholders from unnecessary concerns is to take an honest and straight forward approach in disclosing such event, while ensuring that all possible precautionary measures are implemented to minimize any potential negative impact from SARS."