January 28, 2015 / 1:33 AM / in 3 years

LG Display Q4 profit at four-year high, 2015 growth seen strong

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd reported on Wednesday its highest quarterly profit in almost four years, buoyed by robust demand for liquid crystal displays (LCDs) from television makers and client Apple Inc.

A customer walks in front of LG TV sets which are made with LG Display flat screens, at a store in Seoul January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The profit was in line with expectations, and analysts said the world’s top LCD maker will likely see strong earnings growth this year as well, as demand for high-end televisions is expected to increase further.

LG Display guided for profit for the seasonally weak first quarter to fall sequentially, but analysts said earnings will likely be supported by sales to Apple.

The U.S. company reported record iPhone sales for the fiscal quarter ended Dec. 27 and plans to launch a new smartwatch in April, suggesting further sales momentum for LG Display.

For the full year, global LCD shipments are likely to rise about 7 percent to 239 million units as consumers upgrade to larger TVs, according to a report in late December by researcher DisplaySearch.

LG Display said operating profit more than doubled for the October-December period from a year earlier to 625.8 billion won ($580.14 million), in line with a 623 billion won mean profit forecast by a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll of 36 analysts.

The profit was the highest since the January-March quarter of 2011, the earliest quarter for which LG Display’s current accounting standard applies. The company also reported revenue of 8.3 trillion won for October-December, up 17.8 percent from a year earlier.

LG Display said January-March panel shipments will likely fall by a mid-single digit percentage rate in sequential terms, while average selling price will remain stable.

The company also said it would pay an end-2014 dividend of 500 won per share, its first such payout in four years.

Shares of LG Display, which had risen 8.5 percent in 2015 till Wednesday, ended down 1.2 percent, compared with a 0.5 percent rise in the broader market.

Additional reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Sohee Kim; Editing by Miral Fahmy and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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