Earnings of South Korean display equipment manufacturer Leading Edge Technology (LET) in 2021 will rely on how much foldable smartphones Samsung can ship.
LET is Samsung Display’s exclusive supplier of laminator, used to stack ultra-thin glasses that act as cover windows on the foldable panels.
The company began supplying them to Samsung Display last year. But the South Korean display manufacturer bought less units then expected as Samsung Electronics shipped lackluster units of foldable phones.
LET only accrued 1.6 billion won in sales last year up to the third quarter. Their annual sales is expected to be lower than in 2019, when the company recorded 2.8 billion won in sales.
If Samsung shipped as many Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold 2 as it targeted, LET would have seen its sales jump.
Samsung aimed to ship between 4.5 million units and 5 million units of foldable smartphones last year, but it only moved around 2.5 million units.
Besides the laminators, LET also supplies bending protector layer systems and cover resin dispensers for the ultra-thin glasses.
LET, which listed on KOSDAQ last year, recorded 1.7 billion won in operating loss in 2020. Its sales also declined 55% from the previous year to 21 billion won.
Besides ultra-thin glasses, the company is also betting on Samsung to expand sales of regular smartphones with fingerprint on display sensors. LET also supplies fingerprint on display (FoD) laminiators, used to attach the fingerprint reader onto the OLED panel.
Prior to its listing, LET touted its position as the exclusive supplier of FoD laminator for the Galaxy S20 smartphone series, but the phones sold less than expected.
LET is currently developing a laminator that attached FoD to the whole screen surface of smartphones. Most smartphones with FoD only uses some portions of the bottom of the screen.
The company is also developing a dispenser using inkjet head, which can be used as optical clear resin dispenser. They are used to attach various films on the panel using adhesive resin instead of adhesive films.
LET was formed by ex-LG researcher Lee Heung-keun in 2001. The company manufactures equipment for OLED and liquid crystal display production. It is based at Asan. The company has 76 employees. It was acquired by compatriot display inspection equipment company HB Technology, which owns a 30.88% stake.