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Polarizer makers to raise prices amid tight supply

Polarizer makers will hike prices by 5-10% in first-quarter 2021 amid tight supply, a result of shortages of a key material, optical compensation films, according to industry sources.

Production for LCD panels, which have seen robust demand in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, has seen insufficient support from polarizer makers, said the sources.

Global monthly demand for optical compensation films is estimated at 30 million square meters, with Japan-based Fujifilm, Konica Minolta and Zeon being major suppliers, the sources said.

Fujifilm has temporarily stopped operation of a production line for regular maintenance, and as a result, monthly output from the maker has halved to three million square meters, the sources noted. As Konica Minolta and Zeon turn out 11 million and 10 million square meters respectively a month, global monthly supply of optical compensation films currently stands at 24 million square meters, 15-20% short of demand, the sources indicated.

Optical compensation films for the VA segment is particularly in short supply while that for IPS and TN segments is in slight shortage, the sources said.

Fujifilm will restart the suspended production line in March 2021, with overall output to return to the originally levels in June 2021, the sources noted. Even so, global supply of optical compensation films will still be tight, the sources indicated.

Taiwan-based polarizer makers have made efforts to secure supply of optical compensation films for maintaining production during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays, the sources said.