Thu, Mar 30, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Acer's revenues up 41.4%, but analysts disappointed

DRAGGING PROFITS The figures sounded impressive, but market analysts said Acer suffered slowing demand, heavier competition and a drop in gains from asset sales

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH BLOOMBERG

Acer Inc, the world's third-largest notebook-computer supplier, yesterday announced consolidated revenues at NT$318.09 billion (US$9.69 billion) for last year, representing growth of 41.4 percent from a year earlier.

The company's profit after tax was NT$8.48 billion, up 20.9 percent from last year, the company said in a statement.

Acer's earning per share for last year was NT$3.83; operating income was NT$7.65 billion, showing an annual growth of 100.9 percent, it said.

"Acer's results are disappointing both in the operating and bottom-line levels," said Robert Cheng, a Taipei-based analyst with CLSA Asia Pacific Markets. "Slowing demand in Europe and head-to-head competition limited the improvement in the margin."

Fourth-quarter operating income rose 51 percent to NT$2.27 billion from NT$1.5 billion, Acer said.

Fourth-quarter non-operating income fell 80 percent to NT$584 million, according to the statement.

Operating margin, the percentage of sales after production costs and operating expenses, rose to 2.2 percent from 2.1 percent a year earlier and 2.2 percent in the third quarter, the company said.

The "core computer business was strong in the period if [one looks at] operating income," Acer senior public relations officer Henry Wang (汪島雄) said.

Fewer "investment gains from asset sales in the fourth quarter last year dragged the profit," he said.

This year, the company forecast it would earn NT$400 billion in consolidated revenues, NT$10.8 billion in operating income, and NT$10 billion in profit-after-tax.

"Upon achieving these financial targets for 2006, Acer will set another record high in its 30-year history," the statement read.

Acer unseated Toshiba Corp as the world's third-biggest supplier of notebook computers in the fourth quarter of last year.

The company increased its market share to 12.2 percent from 10 percent a year earlier, according to market research Gartner Inc. Toshiba's share fell to 10.5 percent, while Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) controlled 8.1 percent of the laptop market in the period, Gartner said.

Domestically, Acer ranked as the second-largest notebook computer vendor in the fourth quarter after Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), International Data Corp Taiwan said on March 7.

Acer was followed by Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba, IDC Taiwan said.

Shares of Acer fell 0.8 percent to close at NT$65.50 yesterday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

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