Tue, Nov 21, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Asustek anticipating sales growth for Q4

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), the world's largest motherboard maker, yesterday said sales in the current quarter will rise on the back of a traditional peak season and strong shipments of notebook computers.

In the past few years, fourth quarter sales have grown by around 15 percent but this year they could reach 20 percent Sunny Han (韓德行), Asustek's global brand marketing director told reporters on the sidelines of a product launch.

The momentum is expected to drive through the first quarter of next year, a traditionally slow period, bolstered by the launch of Microsoft Corp's new operating Vista system in late January, he said.

Asustek said in August it was confident of achieving a sales target of US$16 billion this year, a rise from US$11 billion last year.

Portable computers will continue to be the major source of revenue, exceeding last year's contribution of 31 percent, while the amount contributed by motherboards will fall from last year's 23 percent to below 20 percent, the company said.

For the first 10 months of the year, Asustek saw sales jump 118.67 percent to NT$268.05 billion (US$8.14 billion) from the same period last year.

Asustek yesterday introduced another series of gaming notebooks.

These notebooks -- G1, G2, A8Js and F3Jc -- boast standalone graphics cards, up to 512MB of graphics memory and up to a 17-inch widescreen. Their prices range from NT$42,800 to NT$88,888.

"Gaming is a growing market and we are targeting niche buyers," said Kevin Lin (林福能), Asustek's sales director.

Macquarie Research Equities reiterated its "outperform" rating for Asustek in a report released last Friday.

"We expect Asustek to experience very strong top-line momentum starting from November driven by various products ? Asustek's non-motherboard products are the key growth driver," it said.

It forecast Asustek's sales this month would grow more than 25 percent month-on-month to challenge NT$60 billion.

They have been driven by strong ramp-up for the new Apple Computer Inc's Macbook computers, own-brand notebook computers and the launch of Sony Corp's PlayStation 3 game consoles, it said.

Macquarie said its estimation of Asustek's quarter-on-quarter growth of 19 percent in sales in the current quarter will be conservative.

Asustek will most likely surpass the equities house's forecast of shipping 8.3 million notebooks next year, growth of 45 percent over this year.

"Asustek should remain the fastest growing brand among the top 10 PC vendors into next year," it added.

Shares of Asustek closed down 1.9 percent to NT$83 yesterday on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

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