Tue, Aug 04, 2009 - Page 12 News List

HTC shares fall by limit on expected sales drop

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HTC Corp (宏達電) fell by its daily limit in Taipei trading after the biggest maker of mobile phones using Google Inc Android and Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating systems said sales would drop for the first time this year.

HTC fell 7 percent to close at NT$372.5 per share on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, compared with a 0.3 percent decrease on the benchmark Taiex index.

The Taoyuan-based company cut its sales forecast to a decline of as much as 5 percent this year from a previous prediction of 10 percent growth.

The reduced outlook was caused by a delay in the introduction of some handsets from the second half of the year to next year, lower contract-manufacturing orders and slower-than-expected demand from China, HTC said on Friday.

HTC faces stronger competition from Apple Inc’s latest iPhone operating system and Palm Inc’s Pre handset, both released in June.

Lack of “consumer acceptance” is contributing to the delay in releasing more models based on Android, chief executive officer Peter Chou (周永明) said on Friday.

“We believe this decline is largely due to the fiercer competition from the new iPhone and Palm Pre on the high end,” Lu Chialin (呂家霖), a Taipei-based analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd, wrote in a report yesterday.

Lu cut his rating on the stock to “underperform” from “neutral.”

“HTC needs to make more aggressive investments in marketing and industrial design, before others catch up with comparable products,” Lu wrote in the report.

Macquarie cut its share-price estimate by 29 percent to NT$360, while Citigroup Inc lowered its estimate 36 percent to NT$300 and HSBC Holdings Plc cut its figure 11 percent to NT$340.

HTC has posted annual sales growth every year since it was listed in 2002.

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