Wed, Oct 31, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Asustek’s results in Q3 beat forecasts

AIMING HIGH:The firm’s Google co-branded Nexus 7 performed above expectations, and it hopes to work with Microsoft to help their Windows RT tablets to rival Apple

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), the world’s No. 5 PC vendor, yesterday reported better-than-expected third-quarter results and said it expected revenue to increase by between 5 percent and 10 percent this quarter.

The company also said it planned to gradually retreat from the netbook business to focus on Android or Windows 8-supported touch-screen tablet-netbook hybrids.

“We aim to sell at least 10 million units of Android-powered tablets next year, including the popular 7-inch Nexus 7 and our PadFone series,” Asustek CEO Jerry Shen (沈振來) said at a quarterly conference with investors and analysts at the company’s Taipei headquarters.

“Nexus 7 and our notebook products have generally performed above the market’s expectations. The launch [of the Nexus 7] helped promote our brand in North America,” he said.

Thanks to the growing popularity of the Nexus 7, its Google Inc co-branded tablet, Asustek saw its tablet shipments rise to 2.3 million units last quarter, from 800,000 units in the second quarter, and the company said it planned to ship 2.6 million units this quarter.

Other than tablets, Asustek said it aimed to ship 5.5 million motherboards, down from 5.8 million last quarter. The company also aims to ship 5.5 million tablet-notebook hybrid computers this quarter, up from 5 million last quarter.

Shipments of Eee Pads are expected to increase to 2.6 million units this quarter from 2.3 million last quarter, but those for Eee PCs are set to fall to 500,000 units from 800,000 last quarter, the company said.

Asustek said the newly introduced Windows RT-powered tablets would likely be a “game-changer,” encouraging more tablet or smartphone vendors to adopt Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

“Looking back at the personal computer’s evolution, we noticed that electronic devices, including portable computers, cellphones and cameras, are getting integrated into either two-in-one or three-in-one mobile gadgets. Clearly, consumers are not satisfied with products that lack such distinguishing features anymore,” Shen said.

“So far, there are only two tablet models that run Windows RT, namely Microsoft Surface and Asustek’s VivoTab RT. If Microsoft and Asustek can work together, we believe the alliance will be strong enough to combat Apple Inc’s iPad, given that Microsoft holds advantages in software design and Asustek holds advantages in hardware design,” he said.

Shen said he had high hopes for the company’s 7-inch and 10-inch tablets.

“We expect our tablets to rank No. 2 after Apple, and our touch notebooks to remain No. 1,” he said.

Overall, for the whole of this year, Asustek said it expected to ship 6.3 million tablets, up from 1.8 million last year, the company said.

In the third quarter, Asustek reported a net profit of NT$6.71 billion (US$229 million), up 43.38 percent year-on-year and 39.21 percent quarter-on-quarter.

Earnings per share were NT$8.92 in the third quarter and NT$21.97 in the first three quarters, the company’s financial report showed.

Consolidated revenue increased 9 percent year-on-year and 18 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$111.43 billion, while gross margin was 12.95 percent, down from the previous quarter’s 14.24 percent.

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