Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Asustek profit plunges 21 percent this quarter, but CEO remains optimistic

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the world’s fifth-largest PC brand, yesterday reported that its net profit dropped to NT$4.76 billion (US$159.29) last quarter, down 21 percent quarter-on-quarter and 1 percent year-on-year.

Earnings per share during the second quarter of the year were NT$6.3, falling from NT$8.04 in the previous quarter, and NT$6.4 during the same period of last year.

Yet Asustek chief executive officer Jerry Shen (沈振來) said new Windows 8 PC products set to be launched next month would boost the company’s sales and earnings in the second half of the year, although the sales momentum of its first-generation Windows 8 products, including VivoBook laptops, did not last more than a quarter.

In order to transform into “a mobile PC maker,” Asustek also plans to break into the Chromebook market as soon as next quarter, Shen told an investors’ conference.

While Chromebooks are designed with features more suitable to students’ educational needs, the company is considering supplying this product, he said.

“Asustek’s future sales can only be supported with a diverse product portfolio, not just traditional PCs,” Shen said.

“While the company aims to hold market shares in traditional PC, tablet and smartphone markets, growth in the company’s businesses in these different markets, especially the smartphone sector, may not be reflected in the short term, but we are very clear of our directions,” he added.

During this quarter, Asustek plans to ship a total of 4.3 million notebooks, 3.5 million units of its Transformer and other tablet series and 5.5 million motherboards.

The figures are compared with 4.1 million notebooks shipped during the April-to-June period, 2 million tablets and 5 million motherboards.

Earlier in May, Asustek forecast its notebook shipments would remain flat at about 4.8 million units last quarter, with tablet shipments of 2.8 million units and motherboard shipments of 5 million units.

The New Taipei City (新北市)-based company attributed its missing the second-quarter shipment targets to weakening demand for laptops, as well as Asustek’s tablet product transition period.

For this year, Asustek set an annual laptop shipment target of between 17 million and 19 million units, and up to 12 million tablets, Asustek chief financial officer David Chang (張偉明) said.

“Asustek needs collaboration with Microsoft and Intel to expand its Windows 8 PC market, and it takes time,” Chang said.

In January next year, Asustek plans to launch new standalone smartphone products, including new FonePad smartphones and 7-inch PadFone tablets coupled with a 4-inch smartphone, he added.

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