AU Optronics (AUO) has reported higher-than-expected net profit of NT$4.31 billion (US$145.2 million) for the first quarter of 2018, up 2.7% from a quarter earlier but down 54.5% from a year earlier.
EPS for the first quarter stood at NT$0.45 compared to NT$0.44 in the previous quarter.
The first quarter's earnings were achieved despite unfavorable market conditions, including continued declines in panel prices and appreciation of the Taiwan currency, the company said.
Company chairman Paul Peng also indicated that AUO's shipments of large-size panels, notably 65- and 75-inch models, increased significantly in the first quarter, offsetting the impact of decreasing panel prices.
Consolidated revenues in the first quarter reached NT$74.44 billion, down by 7.7% sequentially.
In the first quarter of 2018, the inventory turnover days were 34 days and net debt to equity ratio was 4.8%, with both indicators remaining at relatively low levels. Overall, the company's financial structure remains stable despite sequential drops in revenues and operating profits in the first quarter.
Overall, shipments of large-size panels totaled 28.58 million units in the first quarter, down 0.2% on quarter. Shipments of small and medium-size panels during the same period reached 46.57 million units, down 0.8% sequentially.
Peng expects inventory levels at clients to return to normal levels in the second quarter, which will be instrumental to push up panel demand.
For the second quarter, AUO expects large-size panel shipments to decline 1-3% sequentially, and those of small- and medium-size panels to drop 1-6% on quarter. Overall, the company's capacity utilization rate will be maintained at a relatively high level.