Simplo Technology Co (新普科技), the world’s largest maker of battery packs for notebook computers, yesterday reported 18.6 percent quarterly growth in revenue for last quarter, with sales boosted by an increase in demand for laptops during the year-end holidays.
During the quarter ending on Tuesday, revenue jumped to NT$17.21 billion (US$573 million), from NT$14.51 billion in the third quarter last year.
The fourth-quarter figure is slightly better than Simplo’s forecast of NT$17 billion.
That brought the company’s total revenue last year to NT$54.73 billion, down 6.97 percent from NT$58.83 billion in 2012.
It is the first time Simplo has posted an annual decline in revenue, as the rising popularity of tablets affected sales of laptops.
“The laptop market gained momentum last quarter because top brands such as Hewlett-Packard Co (HP) received new orders from government procurement agencies and demand for consumer laptops increased ahead of year-end holidays,” Fubon Securities Investment Services Co (富邦投顧) analyst Arthur Liao (廖顯毅) said by telephone yesterday.
In November last year, HP increased orders from component suppliers including Simplo, after the PC company won new orders from the Indian government for laptops to be used in India’s primary and secondary schools, Liao said.
HP is Simplo’s biggest customer, with the firm also supplying top PC brands including Lenovo Group (聯想), Dell Inc, Acer Inc (宏碁) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩).
“It’s likely that global demand for laptops will stay strong through this month mainly because demand from the Chinese market is still growing ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, and that may also help boost battery makers’ sales,” Liao said.
However, looking at the year as a whole, global laptop and desktop shipments will fall by at least 9 percent to about 285 million units this year from International Data Corp’s (IDC) estimate of 314.2 million units last year due to rise of tablets, Liao forecast.
Liao said Simplo is likely to face greater pricing pressure in supplying batteries for mid and low-end smartphones and tablets this year, because of the products’ falling average prices in emerging markets.
Since 2012, Simplo has supplied Apple Inc with battery products for iPhones and iPads.
Simplo currently manufacturers batteries used in the iPhone 5S and 5C, the iPad Air and the iPad Mini with Retina display, the company said.