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LG Display to keep 2015 investment at last year's level: CEO

LG Display Co., South Korea's flat panel giant, will make an investment this year comparable to last year's in order to vie with rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co., its chief executive said Monday.

"We'll go with a similar level (of amount) to last year's, within the threshold of the EBITDA," LG Display CEO Han Sang-beom told reporters after a regular meeting held by the Korea Display Industry Association, for which Han has been named the new chairman.

LG Display's EBITDA, or earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, came to 4.84 trillion won in 2014, according to analysts here. A company's EBITDA, a key financial indicator of profitability, is widely used by investors to gauge a possible investment.

Given the company's 2014 investment was tallied at about 3 trillion won (US$2.73 billion), its 2015 investment is expected to reach a similar level, market watchers said.

Han's remarks came at a time when LG Display is facing intense competition in the global panel market with its home rival Samsung Electronics, which has pledged to take the lead in the high-end TV market with organic light-emitting diode, or OLED and quantum dot models.

LG Display has geared up efforts for a battle with Samsung in the premium lineups, coming up also with a two-track strategy to focus on both OLED panels and quantum dot-based screens.

"We're ready to provide not only the quantum dot but the high color reproduction. We're prepared with every card we can offer our clients," Han added.

He said talks have been under way with some Japanese buyers about selling its OLED panels, without giving further details. Han also hinted that the company is looking into ideas to expand its plastic OLED productions for wearable devices including smartwatches, as well as panels used for vehicle displays that have recently seen a sharp rise in demand.

LG Display has so far supplied the bulk of its productions to its affiliate LG Electronics Inc., though the portion is far smaller than that of Samsung Display Co., which sells most of its products to Samsung Electronics.

LG Display said last June that it will spend 700 billion won in its OLED production line located in Paju, north of Seoul, aiming to raise its monthly production of the eighth-generation OLED input sheets that are used to make six 55-inch TV panels. (Yonhap)

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