LED backlight, Light+Building drive LED manufacturer's utilization

April 04, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Taiwan-based makers of LED chips including Epistar, Lextar Electronics, Genesis Photonics and Bright LED Electronics, had increased their capacity utilization in March, reports Asian news service Digitimes. Reasons for the high utilization include increasing orders for LED chips used in backlight of LCD TVs and lighting products and the Light+Building fair.

The LED manufacturers observed hiking shipments due to TV brands launching new models in the second quarter, which gave them an increased capacity utilization rate of 70-80%; in some cases even 90%.

Epistar told Digitimes that said it saw significant growth in LED orders with an order visibility of around a month and estimates that its utilization rate will reach 90% in April. Increased sales in street and tunnel lights during February brought revenues of $400.6 million for the company and it hopes to see NT$1.36 billion in revenues from March sales. .

LED makers are also preparing to launch new products at Germany's 2012 Messe Frankfurt Lighting Fair this April, which will further drive LED lighting. Lextar will release LED modules that have high efficiency and high color rendering, with (CRI) greater than 95. This includes a high-saturation red color (R9) that has a CRI of over 90 and a warm white at 100 lm/W.

Genesis Photonics had a capacity utilization of only 60% and saw losses in the fourth quarter of 2012 due to weak demand in LED chips. Although the company had revenues of about NT$414 million, it saw an annual reduction of about 35.88%, but is expected to rebound in March. The company will however have a joint venture with Kunshan City to manufacture LED products, which will expand the layout of China's LED market and increase Genesis' LED product revenue from 30% to 50%.

Meanwhile, FreeSolar achieved sales of $89 million and will see sales surpass $102 million in March. This will improve its order visibility to 40 days and in the second quarter its capacity utilization rate will reach 90%, the report said.