Sat, Jan 07, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Compal projects strong growth in notebook sales

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦), the world’s second-largest contract manufacturer of notebook computers, yesterday said it aimed to ship 48 million laptops this year, up from last year’s 40.5 million.

Total shipments last year were down from 2010 — when it shipped 48 million notebooks — and fell short of its target of 50 million.

The decline in shipments last year was caused by upheavals at its major client, Acer Inc (宏碁), which ousted CEO Gianfranco Lanci in late March before embarking on a string of organizational restructuring that resulted in dwindling shipments and further market share loss.

“It wasn’t a smooth-sailing year for us in 2011,” Compal president Ray Chen (陳瑞聰) said before the company’s annual dinner party at the Nangang Exhibition Hall in Taipei.

However, the company is confident that shipments would recover this year, buoyed by product innovation and its rapport with a wider client base.

For instance, Compal’s production venture with Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想), China’s top PC manufacturer and the world No. 2, is set to start mass production in the fourth quarter, with volume expected to pick up steam in the second quarter next year, Chen said.

“The growth momentum of Lenovo is exponential ... It chose to work with a single contractor to deepen the relationship and to focus on product innovation,” he said of the Hefei, China-based joint venture that will absorb an investment of US$300 million.

ULTRABOOKS

Compal said ultrabooks would account for about 20 percent of its total notebook shipments this year, in line with industry growth forecasts.

Despite the strong boost from Intel Corp, ultrabooks would only make up 15 to 20 percent of global notebook shipments this year, based on Chen’s projection.

The lead time for ultrabooks — considered a rival to Apple Inc’s extra-light MacBook Air — is longer because contractors have their own interpretation of designs that include the unibody form factor and the adoption of metal casings, he said.

Compal said it currently has its hands full of ultrabook projects and their contribution to shipments is expected to increase significantly starting next year.

SALES DIP

Separately, Compal yesterday reported consolidated revenue of NT$52.9 billion (US$1.8 billion) for last month, down 11.6 percent month-on-month and 22 percent year-on-year.

Full-year revenue last year was NT$692.37 billion, tumbling 21.9 percent from NT$887 billion the previous year.

Compal’s shares closed up 1.43 percent on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday at NT$31.85.

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