Thu, Jan 12, 2012 - Page 11 News List

Hon Hai good investment pick, Barclays Capital says

A TOP CHOICE:The bank’s researchers in Hong Kong say Hon Hai shipments will remain strong this year, thanks largely to the firm’s iPhone and iPad contracts

Staff Writer, with CNA and Bloomberg

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, will remain one of the top stocks for investors among Taiwan’s high-tech manufacturers, thanks to its strong sales momentum, Barclays Capital said yesterday.

After record-high October and November unconsolidated monthly sales, Hon Hai reported another high of NT$316.94 billion (US$10.61 billion) last month, its third consecutive record high, up 30 percent from a year earlier and an increase of 3.2 percent from the previous month.

“As PC demand remained soft, we believe the upside was mostly from strong iPhone shipments,” Kirk Yang (楊應超), head of Asia ex-Japan tech hardware research based at Barclays Bank in Hong Kong, said in a report to clients.

“Our forecast is unchanged at 34 million to 35 million units for the fourth quarter of last year. For iPads, we maintain our shipment forecast of 14 million units made in the fourth quarter of last year,” Yang added.

This year, Barclays Capital continues to see strong product shipments of Apple Inc from Hon Hai. It has predicted shipments of 29 million to 30 million iPhone units in the first quarter of the year, given that the iPhone will go on sale in China this week.

For iPads, the investment bank expects the next version to be released late next month or in early March, and it is looking at 9 million to 10 million units shipped in the first quarter.

MICROSOFT

Meanwhile, Microsoft Corp, the world’s largest software maker, said industrywide PC sales would probably be lower than analysts projected in the fourth quarter because flooding in Thailand hurt supply.

Analysts have estimated that total PC shipments fell about 1 percent in the period, Tami Reller, chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Windows unit, said at an investment conference on Tuesday. The actual number is probably lower, she said.

Bill Koefoed, Microsoft’s general manager of investor relations, echoed those remarks at a separate event in Las Vegas.

“As the numbers come out, you’ll likely see that number decline further as the impact has been felt faster than people had anticipated,” Koefoed said at a JPMorgan Chase & Co conference.

Reller told the audience at a Nomura Holdings Inc event that there could potentially be more downward adjustments.

Both conferences were held in Las Vegas, where the Consumer Electronics Show is under way.

Last year’s flooding in Thailand, which knocked disk-drive factories off line, took a toll on a PC market that was already suffering from competition with smartphones and the iPad.

PC shipments rose 3.6 percent in the third quarter, according to market researcher IDC, less than the 4.5 percent growth the firm had predicted.

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