* To take a $150 mln for "abnomalities" in inventory
* To cut 300 jobs in Europe
* Chairman to give up some pay and bonus
* Staff bonuses cut
(Recasts with Europe writedowns, adds analyst comment)
By Clare Jim and Jonathan Standing
TAIPEI, June 1 Acer Inc (2353.TW), the world No.
2 PC maker, will take a $150 million charge to write off
inventory and doubtful payments in Europe and will cut 300 jobs
there in the latest upheaval following the sudden departure of
its CEO in March.
In a statement on Wednesday, Acer said internal audits had
found "abnormalities in terms of channel inventory stored in
freight forwarders' warehouses, and in accounts receivable from
channels in Spain."
"It's a surprisingly large write-off to me," said Calvin
Huang, analyst at Daiwa Securities.
"It shows that they are not doing very well in the inventory
adjustment. They cannot even make $150 million a quarter. It's
very likely that Acer will post a loss in Q2."
The write-off added to the bad news sinceg the acrimonious
departure of CEO Gianfranco Lanci.
Acer cut its first-quarter PC revenue outlook on March 25,
triggering an 18 percent slide in its stock price over the
following four days, at the end of which Lanci left.
Less than a month later it cut its second-quarter shipment
forecasts and reported a worse-than-expected 64 percent fall in
first-quarter net profit. April sales fell 23 percent from a
year earlier. [ID:nT8E7FM01L]
Its shares have recovered somewhat recently but have still
fallen 7 percent since March 31, compared with a 4 percent rise
in Taiwan's benchmark index .TWII.
Acer has been a dominant force in the PC business,
particularly in the notebook segment, but has failed to counter
the runaway success of tablets such as Apple's (AAPL.O) iPad.
Lanci's departure followed a clash over how to deal with the
He publicly criticised some of Acer's board for trying to
"Taiwanise" the company while Acer replied that Lanci had "hurt
the company's business foundation." [ID:nL3E7GA16N]
Acer did not say where the jobs would be lost.
Its tribulations in Europe were announced on the same day
that Chinese rival Lenovo (0992.HK) announced plans to expand in
Europe by buying German consumer electronics retailer Medion
Earlier in the day Acer announced the launch of an ultrabook
super-light computer model in the fourth quarter, pushing on
with its new strategy of developing mobile devices to power
It also forecast that devices such as tablets and
smartphones would make up a third of revenue by 2015.
President Jim Wong, who now runs the company together with
Chairman J.T. Wang, told reporters Acer aims to have the revenue
contribution from touch products at 15 percent by 2013 and one
third by 2015. Touch products include tablets and smartphones.
Ultrabooks are a new category of notebook launched by top
chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O). Intel sees them accounting for 40
percent of laptop sales to consumers by the end of next year.
"The ultrabook can help to revive the notebook market," Wong
Netbook pioneer and Acer rival Asustek (2357.TW) showed its
first ultrabook, the UX series, on Monday at the Computex
computer show in Taipei.
Acer said in a later statement that Wang regretted the
write-off and would give up extra payments he gets as a board
member as well as his employee bonus for 2010.
All board members will take 50 percent cuts in their extra
payments and the company will cut employee bonuses for 2010 by
40 percent. The bonuses are due to be paid between July and
(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jonathan Standing and David