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LG Display says high OLED sales dwarf 2021 market slump

LG Display to pay out 20% of profit as dividend until 2023

A promotional image of OLED TVs by LG (LG)
A promotional image of OLED TVs by LG (LG)
LG Display turned around to profit in 2021 for the first time in three years, buttressed by strong sales of OLED panels for large TV sets, officials said in a conference call Wednesday.

The company logged a 2.23 trillion won ($1.86 billion) operating profit for 2021, turning around from 36.47 billion won losses. The figure was slightly lower than the consensus estimate provided by market intelligence firm FnGuide. Its annual sales came to 29.88 trillion won, up 23.1 percent from the previous year, beating the market consensus.

This comes as sales of OLED TV set for high-end TV market grew by over 60 percent on-year, showing contrast with the negative growth of 13 percent last year in the overall TV set market, according to LG Display, a panel maker subsidiary of LG Electronics.

OLED TV’s share in the high-end TV market exceeded 30 percent as of the fourth quarter, driving the high-end TV market growth by 30 percent.

This showed that OLED panels for large TVs are on track to turn around.

“Looking back on the past year, we were able to show meaningful results in our core strategic tasks, even as COVID-related volatility and uncertainty continued,” LG Display Chief Financial Officer Kim Sung-hyun said.

“More importantly, OLED is now at a stage where it can produce substantive results.”

LG Display did not unveil the exact earnings from large OLED panel business. LG Display Vice President Daniel Lee said the business, making consecutive losses since inception a decade before, turned around to profit in the second half and reached breakeven point for the whole year of 2021.

CFO Kim added that small and medium OLED panels were capable of “ensuring consistency in mass production and quality,” while LCD panel price drawdown and the following decline in revenue was in line with its projection.

But Kim was wary that its 2022 business “is expected to see demand adjustment after COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, LG Display said shareholders will be given dividend payout that is equivalent to 20 percent of its net income from 2021 to 2023. Following the plan, set to be finalized in March, LG Display will spend 232.6 billion won in dividends, or 650 won per share, for the year of 2021.

By Son Ji-hyoung (