HTC on track for turnaround in 2013: bank


TAIPEI — Taiwan’s HTC Corp. is likely to make a turnaround this year as the world’s No. 5 smartphone maker continues to improve its key areas of weakness, U.S. brokerage firm Goldman Sachs said yesterday. “We think HTC is continuing to head in the right direction with its ongoing restructuring since the second half of 2012,” Goldman Sachs analyst Robert Yen wrote in a note to clients.

“We think these changes represent HTC’s efforts to improve its three key areas of weakness — product, execution and sales/marketing,” said Yen, who kept a “neutral” rating and a target price of NT$250 on the stock.

The analyst said that more executive changes at HTC are likely to occur in the future, particularly in its global marketing team and sales teams in the United States and Europe, where HTC has lost significant business but where no major restructuring has happened.

As a result, Goldman Sachs maintained its view that HTC is likely to make a turnaround in 2013, but the magnitude will depend on how fast HTC overcomes these operational bottlenecks.

However, the brokerage also warned that recent HTC inventory adjustments in China, where the company generates about 40 percent of its total shipments, may pressure its share price.

Goldman Sachs’ remarks came after Taiwanese media Commercial Times reported Dec. 31 that Kouji Kodera and Matthew Costello, HTC’s chief product officer and chief operating officer, will leave the company by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

HTC rebutted the report, saying that the company has a sufficient workforce and has built an appropriate management structure to ensure its future development and stable operations.