Samsung Sees Mixed Outlook for LCD, Memory Steady

Samsung Electronics said on Wednesday it expects LCD TV panel prices to fall further in the second half of the year and PC panel prices to stabilize before starting to climb, continuing
current trends.

Analysts said the LCD outlook for Samsung, the world's top memory chipmaker and biggest producer of large liquid crystal displays (LCDs), was roughly in line with its earlier forecasts.

"TV panel prices will go down continually," Woosik Chu, an executive vice president at the South Korean-based company, said at an investor conference in Taiwan. "But we will try to increase the margins." "In the case of IT, LCD monitor prices will go up," Chu said.

The company also said it expected to exceed its 2007 handset sales target of 133 million units. Previously, the company had released a 2007 sales target of 130 million units.

Chu said trends looked positive for prices of NAND, the type of memory used in portable devices like MP3 players, digital cameras and cellphones. "We are expecting a shortage by the fourth quarter, so there will be a price hike at some point," he said.

LCD panel makers like South Korea's Samsung and LG.Philips, and Taiwan's AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics have struggled in recent quarters amid an industry glut that saw prices drop steadily since last year.

The market for panels used in flat-screen PC monitors has recently stabilized, but TV panel prices continue to fall. In its chip division, Samsung expects prices for DRAM- and NAND-type memory to hold steady in the second half, Chu said.

DRAM prices enjoyed strong gains last year amid solid demand, but have shown recent signs of slowing growth in the highly cyclical sector. "It's difficult to say (about DRAM), but as you know, these days, a 30 to 40% decline in prices is usual," Chu said. "If you get a steady price
picture, that's really fantastic. I doubt DRAM prices will go up, but it's steady."