Analyst: LCD tool sales to rise 20% in 2008

Mar. 14, 2008 – Sales of array processing equipment for TFT-LCD manufacturing is expected to rebound to 20% growth in 2008 after slumping ~50% over the past two years, as a prolonged supply glut swings to an industrywide shortage, according to analyst firm The Information Network.

In fact the litho sector of the LCD tool market “will make up all its lost ground” in the current year, nearly tripling the overall sector with 56% growth, following a punishing -46% slide in 2007, notes the firm’s president, Robert Castellano.

A supply glut that squeezed the industry since 2006 is expected to turn into a supply shortage in 2H08, with demand outstripping supply by 6.5% for the year. Major projects on tap include Chi Mei Optoelectronics’ 8.5G plant in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Science Park, and AU Optronics’ 8.5G facility in Taichung, Taiwan. By area, shipments will surge 28.5% to 67M sq. m, he notes. Large-area panel shipments are seen growing 19% this year, a little slower than in 2007 (34%).

Also factoring into the supply shortage, he writes, are uncertainties with the US economy and growing indicators suggesting a weak outlook for other major global economies.


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