(Adds details, comments)
* Q1 net down 70 pct, just below forecasts
* But March sales revenue picks up from February
* March pick-up could point to a better Q2 - analyst
* Rival Samsung reports record Q1 profit
TAIPEI, April 6 Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC
Corp reported a 70 percent tumble in net profit in the
first quarter, just below forecasts, in a lean period for the
company ahead of its new One series of models that are set to
hit the market this month.
HTC is banking on those models to regain market share lost
to Apple Inc's iPhones and Samsung's Galaxy
range at the end of last year, when its sales slumped and
investors dumped its shares on concerns the firm had lost its
But in a sign of a pick-up, it also reported on Friday that
consolidated sales for March were T$30.879 billion, up from
February's T$20.29 billion though still down 16.62 percent from
the same month a year earlier.
"March revenue rose, and if it can keep up the trend seen in
March, we would expect to see a pretty strong Q2," said Bonnie
Chang, analyst at Yuanta Securities.
"Revenue could rise 40 percent over Q1, and with the
traditionally stronger season in the second half, HTC could
continue to see sequential growth in H2."
The world's No.5 smartphone maker's unaudited net profit in
the quarter was T$4.464 billion ($151.50 million), compared with
T$14.83 billion a year earlier and T$10.94 billion in the
previous quarter, it said on Friday.
A poll by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S of 19 analysts had yielded
a median forecast of a profit of T$4.56 billion. The company did
not elaborate in its brief statement on Friday. It will brief
investors on the results later in the month.
First-quarter revenue fell to T$67.79 billion from T$104.157
billion a year earlier.
That was within the company's forecast earlier this year of
a drop in revenue of as much as 36 percent in the first quarter
to between T$65 billion and T$70 billion from the previous three
months as it prepared to launch new models.
It said at the time its difficulties were "short term" as it
fought perceptions that it no longer had the innovative skill
that had propelled it from obscure contract maker to must-have
In late February, HTC announced its One series of models
with fast graphic chips and advanced music and photography
functions. The series received generally positive reviews from
analysts and tech bloggers and is set to hit the market this
But it still faces a tough challenge, with Apple set to
launch a new version of the iPhone this year and new offerings
from Samsung, which posted a record quarterly profit on Friday
driven by booming sales of its smartphones and the Galaxy Note
"Of course it is very difficult to expect HTC to compete
with Apple or Samsung, the market share gap is too big," said
"But if it could catch up with RIM or Nokia, then
it's pretty good."
According to technology research firm IDC, HTC had 8.9
percent of the global smartphone market in 2011, well behind
Samsung's 19.1 percent and Apple's 19 percent, but closing in on
troubled Blackberry maker Research in Motion's 10.4
On Friday, ahead of its earnings announcement, HTC closed up
2.8 percent at T$585.0, versus the broader market's 0.87
(Reporting by Clare Jim and Argin Chang; Writing by Jonathan
Standing; Editing by Matt Driskill and Jacqueline Wong)