South Korea’s Kolon Industries have begun mass producing transparent CPI film in just a year since it installed the production lines at its Gumi plant in the first half of 2019. The annual capacity is enough to supply up to 10 million foldable phones.
“CPI film is already creating profit,” said Noh Jeong-seok, senior vice president of Kolon Industries’ management support department at the firm’s third quarter earnings report on Nov. 6. “Until now, we had been supplying mainly samples. But beginning next year, we expect to see a much clearer bottom line.”
The firm did not say when the lines began to go into operation, or the current or future operation rates.
Kolon Industries has reportedly supplied for Huawei Technologies’ foldable phone Mate X that will be launched on Nov. 15 after an initial delay. On the 13th, Motorola will release its foldable phone Razr, also said to be supplied by Kolon.
Regarding the competition with ultra thin glass, Noh said that application is the biggest key. “We’ve already begun increasing the applicability of our CPI films.” He added that the films will become more competitive once they have overcome their inherent shortcomings,” saying that clients are well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of glass and film materials.
Kolon Industries had initially aimed to supply Samsung’s Galaxy Fold smartphones, but lost the race to Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical, which produces enough film to supply up to 1 million foldable phones a year – this is about 10% of Kolon.
In the third quarter of this year, Kolon Industries’ sales stood at 1.6 trillion won, up 1.3% on-year. Operating profit grew 69.6% to 51.6 billion won. On-quarter, the figures represent a 7.1% and 16.2% decline, respectively. The market consensus had been 1.1 trillion won for sales and 40.9 billion won for operating profit. Revenues involving CPI film stood at 147 billion won, and operating profit 8.6 billion won to post three straight quarters of growth.
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