Thu, Jun 20, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Acer says sorry for loss-making years

SEEING RED:Shareholders grilled the PC maker after it apologized for its low profits, asking why it had purchased written-off brands and calling for an insider trading probe

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Acer Inc (宏碁), the world’s fourth-largest PC maker by shipments, apologized to shareholders yesterday for posting two loss-making years in a row, a performance that has pushed its share price to its lowest point in a decade.

Shares in Acer ended unchanged at NT$22.50 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

“Seeing Acer’s share price drop to such a low level is a great personal burden,” chairman Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂) said at the company’s annual general meeting.

Wang told shareholders the company would make a comeback soon, with a revised product portfolio and a solidified brand.

“We have gone through a series of reassessments of the company’s business model after suffering amid the transformation of the global PC industry,” he said.

The company reported a net loss of NT$2.91 billion (US$97.6 million) last year, or net losses per share of NT$1.07, following intangible asset impairment write-offs on trademark rights for Gateway Inc, Packard Bell BV, eMachines and E-Ten (倚天) totaling NT$3.5 billion.

Acer has been trapped in the red for the second consecutive year since 2011, when it reported a net loss of NT$6.6 billion, or NT$2.97 per share, because of full inventories in European markets.

“Acer has disappointed many of its shareholders with its low share price and profitability,” a shareholder said yesterday. “Despite its slogans, solemn promises and goals, Acer has not told shareholders what it plans to do.”

Other shareholders also questioned Acer over its decision to buy written-off brands and called for an investigation into whether there was insider trading in September last year, when Acer’s share price dropped 25.61 percent to NT$22.5 from NT$30.35 in less than four weeks.

Acer chief financial officer Eva Ho (何一華) said the company was taking the necessary steps to write off its intangible assets, while Wang admitted that the company is experiencing tough times.

“Acer — along with Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp — will try to transform itself at a more rapid pace following the reshaping of the PC industry after Apple Inc and Google Inc launched cloud-computing technologies,” Wang said.

Wang said he expected PC shipments to continue growing as consumers become increasingly familiarized with Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

“So far, Microsoft’s efforts reaffirm that Acer’s strategies are the right ones because the market reaction to Windows 8-based products is improving at a steady pace,” he said.

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