* LG Display posts loss after two quarters of profit
* Large TV LCD prices fall, small OLED panel competition heats up
* Winning order for new iPhone models crucial -analysts
SEOUL, April 24 (Reuters) - South Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd on Wednesday posted a wider-than-expected quarterly operating loss as falling prices of screens for television sets weighed on earnings.
The Apple Inc supplier booked a January-March loss of 132 billion won ($115.6 million) versus a loss of 98 billion won in the same period a year earlier.
The result - which came after two consecutive quarters of profit - compared with a forecast for an average 104 billion won loss calculated from 13 analyst estimates compiled by I/B/E/S Refinitv data.
Revenue rose 4 percent on year to 5.9 trillion won.
Prices for LG Display’s main product, 50-inch liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) for TV sets, slid as much as 23 percent in the quarter versus the same period last year, showed data from WitsView, part of research provider TrendForce.
“Price falls in large LCD TV panels will likely continue in the second quarter, as one of LG Display’s Chinese rivals ramps up production in that segment and drags down prices,” said analyst Park Sung-soon at BNK Securities.
(For an interactive graphic of large TV LCD prices, click here tmsnrt.rs/2IAJaXc.)
Analysts have said capturing a fresh order for Apple’s next line of iPhones may be central to LG Display’s future as competition intensifies with China and Japan in the market for small-sized organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.
Reuters exclusively reported earlier this month that Japan Display Inc will begin supplying OLED screens for the Apple Watch later this year, threatening LG Display’s position providing the majority of small OLED panels for the Apple Watch.
Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park; Editing by Christopher Cushing