Blackout hits Samsung
Power outage costs electronics giant 6 billion won
By Kim Yoo-chul
A sudden power outage at a key flat-screen facility in Tangjeong, South Chungcheong Province, Friday caused Samsung Electronics some 6 billion won in losses, according to company officials.
The official cause for the blackout is not known but it is believed to stem from a problem with a transformer in the provincial city, according to Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO).
The company said in a statement that operations of four LCD-producing lines and one organic light-emitting diode (OLED) line stopped from 9:05 p.m. to 9:16 p.m. Thursday. Employees working on the lines were evacuated for a short time.
Samsung Electronics shares lost 3.49 percent as investors took the stoppage as a negative factor. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch heavily unloaded Samsung shares on the nation’s main stock market Friday.
Samsung Display operates the LCD lines, while Samsung Mobile Display (SMD), a joint venture between Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics, runs the OLED line there.
The flat-screen facility in Tangjeong is the world’s biggest in terms of production capacity. The LCD and OLED lines operate 24 hours a day, every day.
``Operations at the affected lines will fully be restored by the end of Friday,’’ said Samsung Electronics spokesman Ken Noh.
In chips and flat screens, even a brief stoppage can render some panels obsolete as the affected products can no longer be used.
``Right after the power outage, Samsung’s emergency power supply system came on immediately, and a complete blackout did not occur,’’ said Noh.
Samsung said the incident is unlikely to have any major impact on sales or the already-crowded global LCD market. Company insiders say Samsung technicians are struggling to deal with the back-log following the disruption.
The OLED line suspension is expected to have some negative impact on Samsung. SMD supplies OLED screens to Samsung Electronics, Sony, Taiwan’s HTC and even Finland’s Nokia. Galaxy handsets by Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest maker of smartphones, use OLED screens supplied by SMD.
Samsung Display separated from Samsung Electronics earlier this year as the Korean electronics giant took on more OLED technology after steep price falls for conventional displays put its LCD business in the red last year.