Fri, Apr 27, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Mild sales growth at Acer

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Acer Inc (宏碁), the world’s No. 4 PC vendor, expects its revenue to pick up slightly this quarter from three months earlier on the back of a delayed pickup in lightweight laptop sales, company chairman Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂) said yesterday.

“We believe Ultrabooks is the new trend ... Acer is committed to maintaining its leadership in the market and will deliver four models from this quarter,” Wang told an investors’ conference in Taipei.

Shipments of Ultrabooks, lightweight laptops promoted by US chipmaker Intel, were flat in the first quarter, compared with the final quarter of last year, at 250,000 units, but are expected to accelerate by two to five times this quarter, Wang said.

The anticipated boom in Ultrabooks has been delayed thus far because only a few brand companies, such as Acer and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), have been aggressively pushing shipments, while marketing efforts by the PC industry as a whole have been lackluster and end-user prices remain high at US$799 and above, Wang said.

Still, a penetration rate of 25 percent to 35 percent for Ultrabooks is possible as more brand companies launch new models, marketing efforts gain ground and new notebooks with Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 are launched, he said.

Against this backdrop, Acer conservatively forecast a slight rise in revenue this quarter, while operating margin is expected to edge up to 0.5 percent from 0.12 percent in the preceding quarter, Wang said.

Sales will pick up faster in the second half of this year, when up to 60 percent of PC purchases for the year will likely take place, compared with 55 percent in past years, he added.

While Acer’s first-quarter profit missed market forecasts, the company met its guidance on breaking even after writing down US$150 million in inventory last year because of weak sales in Europe, company president Jim Wong (翁建仁) said.

The company maintains 37 days of inventory, in line with its target of between four and six weeks, Wong said.

Kirk Yang (楊應超), head of Asia ex-Japan tech hardware research based at Barclays Bank, Hong Kong, said Acer is on the recovery track, but said he would not recommend investors increase holdings of the stock.

Acer's share price closed down 1.33 percent at NT$33.45 yesterday, compared with the main index’s 0.55 percent fall, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

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