Samsung may spin off LCD unit

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Samsung, the world's leading manufacturer in flat-panel displays, is looking to shake up the LCD segment of its operations.

Even though the company sells more flat panels than anyone else on the planet, it has been unable to avoid the problems that the entire LCD market has been facing.

In its most recent annual report, Samsung reported an operating loss of 750 billion won ($669 million) in its display panel business, although in other segments of the company, like its mobile unit, it fared incredibly better.

As a result, "We are considering various options to strengthen the competitiveness of the LCD business," the company announced. Among the ideas is to spin it into Samsung Mobile Display, which functions autonomously of Samsung Electronics, but that is just "one of the options," Samsung said. "No decision has been made yet."

In addition to creating LCD displays for its own products, Samsung manufactures displays for other companies, including ones that are direct rivals of Samsung.

The LCD market was once a booming and thriving business, but over time it has become oversaturated with prices pushed so low barely anyone can make a decent margin, and a lack of differentiated products makes it tough for anyone to stand out.

In the mean time, Samsung has been focusing on organic LED, or OLED, which offers significantly brighter, thinner, more power-efficient, and more graphically powerful displays, and it's a market where Samsung has a much stronger chance of making a real mark.