Mon, Jul 18, 2011 - Page 11 News List

HTC to buy back stock after patent infringement ruling

CORED BY APPLE:A US court ruling that HTC infringed upon patents held by Apple Inc could impact the smartphone maker’s sales in the US

Bloomberg

HTC Corp (宏達電), Asia’s second-biggest maker of smartphones, plans to buy back as much as 2.4 percent of its outstanding shares after a US International Trade Commission ruled that it infringed upon two Apple Inc patents.

The company, based in Taoyuan, will purchase as many as 20 million of its own shares by Sept. 17, according to filings to the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Saturday night. Half of the repurchased shares will be transferred to employees and the remainder canceled.

CRIMPING SALES

HTC shares tumbled 6.5 percent last week to NT$907 in Taipei amid concern the patent dispute with Apple would affect earnings by crimping sales in the US or boosting costs. They closed at a six-month low of NT$870 on Wednesday last week.

“The stock repurchase plan may stop the stock from falling on Monday,” said Parker Wu, a fund manager overseeing NT$4 billion (US$138 million) for Taipei-based Agriculture Bank of Taiwan (農業金庫), who doesn’t own the stock. “Longer term, it’ll depend on how the lawsuit goes and the attitude of foreign investors, as they control more than half of HTC’s shares.”

APPEAL

HTC said Saturday that it would appeal a ruling by a US judge that the company infringed upon two Apple patents. Administrative Law Judge Carl Charneski’s Friday finding is subject to review by the full six-member International Trade Commission in Washington.

Should the commission uphold the finding, the US may ban imports of some HTC phones that run on Google Inc’s Android, the nation’s most popular smartphone operating system.

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