A few days ago Samsung released their financial results for Q2 2014. While it wasn't a good quarter for Samsung, OLED increasing slightly driven by new high-end smartphones, and SDC is increasing AMOLED sales to mid-range phones. During the company's conference call, some more interesting information was revealed.
Samsung's head of IR says that while OLED sales improved compared to the previous quarter, the improvement was less than Samsung's expectation. Samsung actually expects that it will be challenging to improve OLED profits because of SDC's main customers (mostly Samsung Electronics itself, actually) "continuous reduction of panel inventory and product mix change to increase offerings of mid-end products". Supplying to lower-range products may mean lower margins for SDC.
But the really interesting news is about SDC's upcoming A3 AMOLED fab. The A3 has a 6-Gen (1850x1500) production line that is used exclusively for flexible OLED production. While earlier reports from Korea suggested that SDC started ordering equipment and aims to start production in Q1 2015, up until now we had no official confirmation.
During the conference call, SDC's VP of planning Lee Chow Hun confirmed that the A3 will be used to produce flexible OLEDs, and that SDC aims to start operation during the first half of 2015. The pace of the ramp-up actually depends on the "market situation" (Apple, perhaps?). It was estimated that the investment required for the new fab will total $3 to $5 billion. The first production line will cost around $2 billion, and SDC has not yet committed to further expansion, they will away market confirmation.
Samsung is currently producing flexible OLEDs in a 5.5-Gen line with a capacity of only 8,000 substrates per month (just for comparison - SDC's glass-based OLED capacity is 140,000 monthly 5.5-Gen substrates). We do not know what will be the new A3 capacity, but hopefully it will be a lot higher than the current flexible line.