Mon, Jul 18, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Notebook orders to grow next quarter

ADAPTING:A Morgan Stanley report says that Compal and Pegatron have begun adapting to a drop in sales of netbooks by allocating some capacity to making tablets

Staff Writer, with CNA

A woman tries out the TimelineX, a thin and lightweight Acer laptop computer, in Taipei on April 6. The computer comes in 13, 14 and 15-inch versions.

Photo: Chen Ping-hung, Taipei Times

Despite weak sales in the global electronics market, notebook computer shipments from Taiwan’s top vendors will grow at a moderate pace in the third quarter because of seasonal strength in China, Morgan Stanley recently predicted.

In a research note, the US brokerage trimmed its ODM notebook shipment forecast by 2 percent to 42.2 million units, which would still be 8 percent higher than the previous quarter.

The forecast covered the top five Taiwan-based notebook ODMs (original design manufacturers) — Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦), Wistron Corp (緯創), Inventec Corp (英業達) and Pegatron Corp (和碩).

“We expect the third-quarter shipments to still grow 6 percent year-on-year, turning positive from minus 4 percent in the second quarter, which is the first positive year-on-year growth since the third quarter of last year as the iPad launch stifled notebook demand amid macro weakness,” the research note said. “Macro weakness remains, especially in Europe, but we expect to see seasonal strength in China.”

According to research firm Gartner Inc, PC shipments in China totaled 16.8 million units in the first quarter of this year, pushing the country past the US to become the world’s largest PC market.

Gartner had forecast that China would become a major driver of the worldwide PC market in the next five years because of commercial demand from lower-tier Chinese cities.

In the second quarter, Taiwan’s top five ODMs had combined shipments of 39.1 million notebooks and netbooks, up 7 percent -quarter-on-quarter, but down 4 percent year-on-year.

The strong performances of some companies in the second quarter were offset by Compal’s weakness, as the world’s No. 2 contract laptop PC maker had a high exposure to netbooks, Morgan Stanley said.

“Both Acer Inc (宏碁) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) have been shifting focus to tablet PCs from netbooks since March, which impacted Compal and Pegatron 17 percent and 22 percent year-on-year respectively,” the brokerage said.

According to Morgan Stanley estimates, however, the two companies have already begun adapting to recent trends and have allocated some capacity to tablet PCs.

“If we include tablet PCs from Compal and Pegatron, the -second-quarter notebook ODM shipments would be up 10 percent to 11 -percent quarter-on-quarter, compared with a normal historical trend of 3 percent to 7 percent,” it said.

For the second quarter of this year, Compal posted consolidated revenue of NT$169.3 billion (US$5.9 billion), down 1 percent quarter-on-quarter and down 25 percent from a year earlier.

Its notebook shipments, including netbooks, were 10.15 million units, a drop of 2 percent quarter-on-quarter and 17 percent year-on-year.

Pegatron reported revenue of NT$102.9 billion in the period from April to last month, up 24 percent from the previous quarter.

The company’s notebook -shipments increased 11 percent to 2.95 million units in the second quarter because of a low first-quarter basis of comparison, but slumped 22 percent from the same period last year.

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