KOREA/USA: LG Display and Apple CEOs 'to meet this week' to discuss display future
The CEO of LG's display division is expected to hold talks with his counterpart at Apple this week, in an attempt to secure supply contracts for forthcoming iOS devices – said to include iPad3, iPad mini and the iPhone 5.
With LG Display having made huge losses last quarter – the W492.1bn (£275m) shortfall was its fourth successive quarterly loss – the talks are seen as a vital part of attempts to turn round the division's fortunes.
Korean press reports say LG Display's Kwon Young-soo will meet with Apple's Tim Cook in the next few days, and quote an industry official as saying that 'Negotiations on LCD panel supplies for the next Apple lineup had already started earlier in the first half of this year.
'The fact that the two leaders are coming face to face indicates that talks have carried on far enough to near the signing of contracts.'
The reports say that the talks will centre around future Apple products, with mk Business News quoting these as 'the iPhone5 (set to be released next year) and next generation iPad products (the iPad mini and iPad3)'.
LG Display already has a long-term contract with Apple: signed at the beginning of 2009 and worth $830m (£525m), it covered panels for use in the iPhone 4 and iPad, and LGD currently supplies half Apple's iPhone panels and 60% of the panels used in iPads. Industry analysts think Apple accounts for some 15% of LG Display's sales.
The suggestion is that if the company secures a contract for future devices, it could be worth over W1tn (£560m), but the race is on to secure a slice of the lucrative smartphone/tablet display market.
With Japanese companies such as Sharp and Panasonic turning over large amounts of their TV panel production to making these smaller displays, and the newly-formed Japan Display set to start operations next year in the same market sector, more companies will be scrabbling for these supply contracts.
LG's need to secure further long-term supply deals is also likely to be focused by the possibility that Apple may look to the Super AMOLED displays made by rival Samsung Mobile Display when its existing LGD contract runs out in a couple of years.
After all, the Super AMOLED panels, already used in Samsung's own Galaxy smartphones, are both thinner and lighter than current LCD displays.