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Polarizer supply to improve in 2H21, says BenQ Materials chairman

Polarizer supply has been tight amid strong demand for LCD panels, but is expected to become balanced in second-half 2021 when China-based makers ramp up production at newly-established facilities, according to Chen Zhien-chi, chairman for BenQ Materials.

But polarizers are not in short supply at the moment, said Ray Liu, president of the Taiwan-based polarizer vendor. He said polarizer prices are expected to remain stable in 2021 although some fellow makers have hiked quotes.

BenQ Materials has extended production from polarizers to medical care products including devices, consumable materials and skin care products. It has also developed separator films for Li-ion batteries and silicone hydrogel contact lenses.

BenQ Materials has gained leaderships in China and Taiwan for negative pressure wound therapy systems and wound care products, Chen said. If the coronavirus pandemic eases in second-half 2021, BenQ Materials will extend marketing of medical care products to other overseas markets, Chen noted, adding that BenQ Materials expects sales for medical care products to increase about 50% on year in 2021.

BenQ Materials has supplied separator films for a Japan-based maker of Li-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and China-based battery makers, Chen indicated. In addition, its separator films are being certified by another Japan-based battery maker, with shipments likely to begin in first-quarter 2022, Chen said, adding it is in talks with US and European clients about supply of separator films.

BenQ Materials produces separator films at its factory in China, and it is considering installing production lines in Taiwan, Chen indicated.

All product lines other than polarizers account for over 15% of consolidated revenues at present, and BenQ Materials aims to hike the revenue proportion to 20% in 2021, Chen noted. BenQ Materials estimates 2021 capex at NT$700 million (US$24.7 million), Chen said.

It posted consolidated revenues of NT$4.060 billion, gross margin of 16.51%, operating profit of NT$213.2 million and net profit of NT$170.2 million for fourth-quarter 2020, leading to consolidated revenues of NT$15.050 billion, gross margin of 15.11%, operating profit of NT$547.4 million and net profit of NT$396 for 2020.

Its consolidated revenues reached NT$1.294 billion in February 2021, decreasing 6.89% sequentially but increasing 35.01% on year, and those of NT$2.683 billion for January-February grew 31.25% on year.