South Korean plasma screen screen maker Samsung SDI said on Tuesday it had swung to a net loss in the third quarter, but forecast better results for the current quarter on surging demand for flat panels.
But results at the firm, which sells both plasma display panel (PDP) screens and traditional cathode-ray tubes (CRT) for TVs, are unlikely to improve significantly as both sectors will continue to see weak pricing and margins.
Samsung SDI posted July-September net loss of 103.0 billion won ($112.2 million), beating a consensus forecast for a 115 billion won loss by eight analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.
The figure compares with a 40 billion won net profit in the third quarter of last year but is an improvement from the previous quarter's 138 billion won net loss.
Sales on a parent basis came in at 913 billion won, lower than a forecast for 1 trillion won and against 1.73 trillion won a year earlier.
Samsung SDI posted an operating loss of 118 billion won, in line with expectations. It said operating loss margin shrank to 12.9 percent from a 15.4 percent loss in the second quarter.
Sales of plasma display (PDP) screens rose 40 percent from the second quarter, Samsung SDI said, adding it expected second-half PDP module demand to surge 50 percent from the first half.
The company also expects plasma panel prices to stabilise thanks to balanced demand and supply.
Samsung SDI was the world's top producer of PDPs in 2005, but was overtaken by Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and home rival LG Electronics Inc. last year as it was hit by production problems and declining sales.
Makers of plasma screens are fighting for mere survival after more efficient and prolific liquid crystal display (LCD) makers overran the flat-screen market last year.
Samsung SDI said its sales of CRT grew 17 percent from the second quarter but that pricing was weak. Mobile display sales rose 14 percent.
Samsung SDI is now betting on organic flat screens called AM-OLED as a growth driver, as they produce brighter images and use less power, but the technology is still years away from making an impact on the company's profitability.
Shares of Samsung SDI, which has a market value of $3.4 billion, closed 0.2 percent up at 67,100 won, compared with a 2.3 percent gain in the main KOSPI index. The stock rose just 2.3 percent in the third quarter while the KOSPI rose 11.6 percent.