Compal Electronics Inc (
Shipments for this year are expected to hit 15 million units, up from around 9.8 million units last year, the firm said, representing more than 50 percent growth.
This level would exceed the International Data Corp's (IDC) forecast of 21 percent growth in average shipments globally for laptops, to 78 million units this year.
"The new Napa mobile-technology platform and upcoming [release of the] Microsoft operating system will accelerate overall notebook demand this year," Ray Chen (
Looking forward, Chen said that first-quarter notebook shipments will report similar volumes to the fourth quarter of last year.
In addition to notebooks, Compal's product mix also includes liquid-crystal-display (LCD) monitors and LCD TVs.
Chen yesterday said the firm expects a 10 percent decline in shipments of its LCD monitors, as well as a 15 percent to 20 percent drop for LCD TVs, on seasonal factors and oversupply.
Revenues and margins in the first three months of the year are expected to decline slightly, after Compal spun off its handset division to Compal Communications Inc (
The handset division produces Pocket PCs and mobile phones, which offer higher margins than notebooks.
No slow season?
The outlook for the second quarter -- which traditionally is a slow period -- looks set to be rosier than the first, with notebook volumes projected to grow by 15 percent, according to Chen.
New models coming into production as well as demand for Napa-based notebooks will drive the growth, he said.
However, Compal said the higher notebook shipments will not boost its margins significantly in the near term.
"The fight for larger market share will create a `bloody' competition. Maintaining current margins has become a thorny issue for the nation's computer makers," Chen said.
Compal reported gross margin of 6 percent last year, down slightly from 6.2 percent the previous year, according to its latest financial results.
Net income grew 28 percent year-over-year to NT$8.42 billion last year, translating into earnings per share of NT$2.43, from NT$6.57 billion, or NT$1.95 a share, in 2004.
One analyst foresaw few surprises ahead for Compal, unless subsidiaries such as Toppoly Optoelectronics Corp (
In addition, when the incorporation of fancier and richer applications, such as TV, into portable computers occurs, this will push up global notebook sales tremendously, said an assistant portfolio manager at Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (
"The average selling price of notebooks has gone up because of the Napa platform, but higher component costs have also eaten into computer makers' margins," he said.
As smaller rivals such as Inventec Co (
He estimated per share earnings of NT$2.8 to NT$2.9 for Compal this year.
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