Wed, Mar 06, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Asustek reports record-high profit

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the world’s fifth-largest PC brand, yesterday reported a 35 percent annual growth in net income last year, and said that it aims to roll out more innovative products this year to replace Samsung Electronics Co as the world’s second-largest notebook and tablet brand.

Net income hit a record-high NT$22.42 billion (US$755.9 million) last year, from NT$16.58 billion a year ago, with earnings per share of NT$29.79, Asustek chief financial officer David Chang (張偉明) told an investors’ conference.

Revenue also hit a record level of NT$413.15 billion last year, Chang said.

In the October-to-December quarter last year, net income fell 12 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$5.89 billion because of increased advertising costs and product delivery expenses, as well as increased taxes in China and the US.

However, the figure rose 21 percent year-on-year, the company said.

As this quarter a slow season for the PC industry, Asustek forecast its notebook shipments would drop 14.55 percent to 4.7 million units from 5.5 million units last quarter, while both tablet and motherboard shipments would remain flat at 3 million units and 5 million units respectively.

Revenue for this quarter is expected to fall by between 10 percent and 20 percent to about NT$100 billion from last quarter, the company said. For the whole of this year, revenue will achieve double-digit growth, with operating margin kept at 5 percent, it said.

Asustek said it remained optimistic that its shipments of notebooks and tablets together would continue to increase this year as revenue from notebooks and tablets increased to 59 percent and 20 percent respectively last year.

“We expect to see sales of notebooks achieve 10 percent annual growth this year, but that is our most optimistic forecast,” Chang said.

As Asustek’s Vivobook notebook series become increasingly popular, the company forecast touch-screen notebooks would continue leading the way this year.

In addition, the company has set shipment targets of between 20 million and 25 million units for notebooks and detachable hybrid tablets this year.

“Notebooks can no longer be PC companies’ only driver of sales growth. As consumers demand PCs that should be as portable and durable as possible, we will continue launching 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 detachable tablets to diversify our product portfolio,” Asustek chief executive officer Jerry Shen (沈振來) said yesterday.

Asustek plans to launch innovative notebooks, tablets and standalone smartphones at this year’s Computex trade show in June and is confident that its new products would help the company become the world’s second-largest notebook and tablet brand, Shen said.

Nonetheless, the company has no plans to roll out a Windows phone because the market is too small, he said.

Asked whether Asustek has considered making PC products powered by Google’s Chromebook operating system, Shen said: “It’s too hard to make a decision at this time.”

However, the company may make product-mix adjustments when the chromebook market is mature, he said.

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