As expected, Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp (TPE:2498) posted a net loss for the first time during the third quarter. The company lost NT$2.97 billion ($101.2 million), much higher than analysts’ estimate of NT$1.8 billion. The company’s sales plummeted to 47.1 billion Taiwanese dollars ($1.6 billion) from 70.2 billion Taiwanese dollars in the same period last year. It’s the eighth consecutive decline in quarterly sales.
HTC not for sale
HTC Corp (TPE:2498) is just another smartphone maker after Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK) and BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) to be crushed under the might of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930). Analysts have started arguing that the company should seek a prospective buyer. However, HTC Corp (TPE:2498) said the company is not for sale. HTC Corp (TPE:2498)’s stock has tumbled by more than 55 percent this year so far. As analysts continue to voice a possible merger, HTC Corp (TPE:2498) chairwoman Cher Wang has reiterated that the company will not be sold. Ms Wang said she is not worried about the low share prices. Cher Wang owns a 3.8 percent stake in the company.
HTC Corp (TPE:2498) hired Robert Downey Jr. to promote its smartphone. It was seen as the company’s last shot at revival. But the immense power of Iron Man failed to rescue the struggling smartphone maker. Internal discord and supply chain constraints made things worse for HTC Corp (TPE:2498). Several senior executives have parted ways with the company over the past few months. In August, HTC Corp (TPE:2498)’s design chief Thomas Chien was arrested for allegedly stealing trade secrets from the company.
HTC sales to remain flattish in Q4: CS
Analysts say the biggest problem for the company is its focus on premium models. Most of the growth is coming through low-cost smartphones from emerging economies. They also criticized HTC Corp (TPE:2498) CEO Peter Chou because he kept using expensive components for smartphones sold in low-end Asian markets.
Until 2011, HTC Corp (TPE:2498) was the second largest smartphone vendor in the United States. But the company’s market share has declined consistently since then. According to research firm Gartner, HTC Corp has a 2.6 percent share in global smartphone market, down from 10.3 percent in Q3 2011.
Credit Suisse analysts Pauline Chen and Derrick Yang said in a research note that they remain concerned about margins. Good products such as new HTC One fail to boost earnings. The company is gearing up to launch several new products during the fourth quarter to fight for the market share. So, Credit Suisse estimates HTC Corp (TPE:2498)’s fourth quarter sales to remain almost flat. Analysts expect losses to narrow down slightly during the fourth quarter. Credit Suisse has an Underperform rating on the stock.