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AU Optronics (AUO) Beats Q1 Earnings Estimates by 64 cents Per Share

AU Optronics (AUO) is a Taiwanese manufacturer of thin film transistor liquid crystal display panels (TFT-LCD) and other flat panel displays for use in televisions, computers and consumer electronics. AU earned $1.12 per American Depository Receipt (ADR) versus analysts’ consensus estimate of 48 cents per ADR. Revenues topped $4.5 billion. Analysts were looking for $4.24 billion.

The company shipped 22 million large-sized panels during the seasonally slow first quarter, down 5.1% from Q4 2007, but 38.1% higher year-over-year. Small- and medium-sized panel shipments amounted to 37.68 million for a 21.5% sequential decline, but a gain of 70.3% over last year.

Chief Financial Officer and company spokesman Max Cheng cited cost control efforts and a better product mix for the strong results. Gross margin for the quarter was 27.1%, and operating margin was 22.2%.

Looking ahead, Vice Chairman H.B. Chen told an investor conference that “demand is healthy and I would be cautiously optimistic for the second quarter and third quarter.” Chen also announced plans to build a new factory for making TFT-LCD panels within four years.

AUO has traded in a 52-week range of $13.50 – $22.48. Shares closed Monday at $19.00.

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