* HTC sees Q1 revenue T$50-60 bln, vs Q4 T$60 bln
* Analysts had forecast Q1 revenue of T$62.77 bln
* HTC sees Q1 oper margin 0.5-1.0 pct, vs 1 pct in Q4
By Clare Jim
TAIPEI, Feb 4 Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC
Corp expects revenue to be flat to 17 percent lower in
the first quarter compared with the previous three months, worse
than forecast, while margins are also seen holding steady or
The former contract manufacturer's fortunes have been
declining sharply since the second half of 2011, as the growing
dominance of Apple Inc's iPhone and Samsung Electronics
Co Ltd's Galaxy range quickly deflated the success
of its own brand's rapid rise.
HTC said on Monday that it expects first-quarter revenue of
T$50 billion to T$60 billion ($1.69-2.03 billion). That compares
with T$60 billion in the fourth quarter and T$65.75 billion a
Analysts have forecast HTC would earn revenue of T$62.77
billion for the quarter, according to the average projection of
18 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
HTC also said it expects a first-quarter gross margin of
about 21 to 23 percent, flat to lower from 23 percent in the
prior quarter, and an operating margin of 0.5 to 1.0 percent,
also flat to lower from 1 percent.
The weaker-than-expected first-quarter revenue outlook
follows a 91 percent year-on-year slide in the Taiwanese
company's net profit in the fourth quarter that fell short of
Analysts doubt that 2013 will be a turnaround year for HTC
as the strength of its brand lags far behind Apple and Samsung.
But some have said that the next version of its flagship
smartphone, code-named "M7" and which they expect to be launched
in the middle of this month in New York and London, could give
the company a first-mover advantage of a few months on features
such as higher-resolution cameras.
Samsung Electronics, the world's top smartphone maker, said
last month that it expected the global smartphone market to
shrink in the first quarter from the seasonally strong fourth
quarter, while the overall handset market would see growth at a
mid single-digit percentage rate this year from 2012, with the
smartphone segment set to slow.
Strong smartphone sales powered an 89 percent increase in
operating profit at the Korean company in the October-December
quarter to a record $8.3 billion.
Cupertino, California-based Apple, which faces intense
competition from Samsung, sparked a slide in its share price
late last month when it forecast lower revenue of $41 billion to
$43 billion in its current fiscal quarter, down from $54.5
billion in the previous quarter and below the average Wall
Street forecast of more than $45 billion.
On Monday, shares of HTC fell 1.6 percent, versus a 0.9
percent rise in broader market. HTC's shares have fallen
more than 40 percent since the start of last year, compared with
a 12 percent rise in the Taiwan stock benchmark.