Giant eyes 10 pct growth in bike shipments in 2009

TAIPEI, April 21 (Reuters) - Taiwan's Giant Manufacturing 9921.TW, the world's top bicycle maker, is targeting 10 percent shipment growth this year and expects its global output to reach 10 million units after 2014 as it produces more bikes in China.

Giant President John Ho gave the forecasts on the sidelines of an event, and Ho said his company’s earnings could be flat or slightly higher than last year. No financial figures were given.

However, analysts expect Giant to make a net profit of T$2.35 billion ($69 million) in 2009, down 8 percent from last year, according to Reuters Estimates.

“China’s growth is driven by its domestic demand and we can see that potential market,” said Ho, whose company makes most of its bicycles in China and its new Tianjin plant in China started operating last month.

Founded in 1972 as a contract manufacturing company, Giant now makes bicycles under its own brand for sale in more than 50 countries, with contract orders making up less than one-third of its business.

By 0356 GMT, Giant shares were up 0.5 percent, outperforming a 0.1 percent rise on the main TAIEX .TWII. (US$1=T$33.9) (Reporting by Lin Miao-jung, writing by Baker Li, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)