Acer revises up PC shipment target after strong Q1

Acer revises up PC shipment target after strong Q1

Acer revised up its 2008 PC shipment target after a strong first quarter

Acer revised up its 2008 PC shipment target after posting strong results in the first quarter of the year.

The world's third-largest PC vendor predicts it will ship between 25 million and 30 million PCs this year, up from a previous target of 25 million, president Gianfranco Lanci said at the company's first-quarter investor's conference in Taipei on Wednesday.

Laptop sales have been particularly strong, running at a nearly 60 percent growth rate in the first quarter. Growth may slip a bit in the second quarter to 55 percent because the April-June period is normally the slowest time of year for PC sales, said Lanci.

The company's rosy earnings and outlook contrast with fears of an economic slowdown in the US.

"We still see pretty good demand," said Lanci.

Acer even sees strength in the US, where some economists fear a recession is already cutting into growth.

"[The US market] is normal, it's growing. We feel good about the overall situation," said J.T. Wang, Acer's chairman.

Acer posted first-quarter revenue of NT$127.4 billion (US$4.21 billion), up 28 percent compared to the same time last year. The company's net profit slumped to NT$2.95 billion from NT$5.66 billion last year, but not because business was tough. Last year Acer sold NT$4.34 billion worth of stock in the first quarter that counted toward its net profit figure, compared to just NT$565 million this year.

The company's revenue and market ranking gained from the purchase of US PC vendor Gateway last year, although it did not provide specific figures.

"The integration with Gateway is proceeding very well. We are near the end," said Lanci. Acer has also purchased Packard Bell in Europe, and started merging operations in March. Packard Bell's financial results were not included with Acer's in the first quarter.

Acer also agreed to by handheld device maker E-Ten Information Systems of Taiwan last month. E-Ten adds smartphones to Acer's product line. Acer predicts smartphones will become a large portion of its future revenue, as much as 10 percent within the next few years.

Laptop PCs are already the strongest performer for Acer. Around 63 percent of Acer's PC shipments in the first quarter were laptops, continuing the shift away from desktops, said Lanci.

He predicted that Acer's revenue in the second quarter will be similar to the first quarter or slightly lower, due to seasonality.

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