As shown at left, we show flexible OLED utilization overtaking rigid OLED utilization in Q4’18 for the first time since Q4’17 which should be encouraging to the OLED supply chain. However, even the best quarter for flexible OLED utilization in 2018 is just 70%, which should result in slower mobile OLED capex in 2019.
By month, we show flexible fab utilization rising each month from 32% in April to 69% in October, falling slightly to 68% in November and rising to 71% in December. In December, market leader Samsung is benefiting from the upcoming Galaxy S10 and foldable panel input as well as continued volumes for Apple.
The all important and massive Samsung A3 fab is expected to reach 67% utilization in Q4’18, up from 61% in Q3’18 which will represent SDC’s overall average as well. In Q4’18, the highest utilized OLED fab as shown below is actually expected to be BOE’s B7 which is expected to climb from 50% in Q3’18 to 89% in Q4’18 as its ramp finally gains momentum. Royole’s R1 fab is expected to be second at 83% although it is just starting its ramp to a small 4K. LGD should have the third highest utilization in Q4’18 as it finally begins shipping for Apple as well as growing volumes for the Google, Huawei and LG smartphones and the Apple Watch.