LG Display To Invest An Additional £2 Billion In Its New OLED Plant

Mike Wheatley

LG Display posted its quarterly earnings results today, announcing that it intends to invest an additional 3 trillion won (£2.04 billion) into its upcoming, next-generation 10.5G OLED production fab that’s expected to go online later this year.


The new P10 fab, located in Paju, South Korea, is said to be capable of mass producing “next-generation display technology such as supersized, rollable and transparent displays”, which are new technologies that are critical to LG’s plans to sharpen its focus on the more profitable OLED TV display segment.

“The company plans to solidify its leadership in the OLED business through competitive OLED productivity and continues to create new value with next-generation display technology," the company said in a press release.

The additional investment will help increase production capacity at the new facility to 45,000 sheets per month by 2023, up from 30,000 sheets per month that it’s expected to produce by 2022. The facility will mainly be focused on panels of 65-inch sizes and larger, LG said.

LG has scaled up its investment in the P10 Plant ever since it was first announced. The company initially plowed 1.84 trillion won into the facility back in November 2015, before committing another 2.8 trillion won in July 2017. The latest investment takes the total amount to 7.46 trillion won (£5.22 billion).

LG’s investment suggests that the company is wary of reports that its arch rival Samsung Display is showing renewed interest in the OLED TV segment. Samsung was an early competitor of LG when OLED displays were an emerging technology, but ultimately it never got beyond building a few prototypes. However in recent months there have been reports that Samsung is planning a second crack at the OLED market with its revamped “QD-OLED” technology that’s based on a new manufacturing process. A recent report from Korean news site The Elec seemed to confirm those rumours, saying that Samsung is close to launching a “Project C”, which it claims refers to larger, TV-sized OLED panels.

A look at LG Display’s financial results reveals why the company is so keen to step up its sales of OLED displays. The company, which also supplies panels to Panasonic, Sony and other TV makers, saw its revenue fall by 5% compared to the same period one year ago, mainly due to the falling prices of LCD TV panels, which is a segment it’s trying to move away from. LG added that "macroeconomic concerns and uncertainty” regarding the trade war between the U.S. and China also played a part in its revenue decline.

On the brighter side, LG said that TV panels now account for 41% of its total revenue, up 5% from a year ago, which it said is evidence of its focus on OLED panels. The company said that it’s now planning to not only focus on OLED, but specifically on the market for larger OLED panels such as 77-inch and 88-inch sizes, which LG says it will be able to manufacture more cost effectively once the P10 fab is up and running.

“LG Display expects to solidify its competitiveness in the supersized TV market once it completes its Gen 10.5 OLED production facility," officials said in a statement.

The P10 fab will be LG’s third OLED production facility to go online, and follows the completion of another, 8.5G plant in Guangzhou, China, that’s set to begin mass production next month.