HTC shares rebound ahead of new model’s launch in Taiwan


TAIPEI — Shares of Taiwan-based smartphone vendor HTC Corp. staged a rebound yesterday from a plunge seen a session earlier, ahead of the launch of its latest flagship model in Taiwan scheduled for later in the day, dealers said.

However, its disappointing sales for February still made investors wary of the company’s earnings outlook and prompted several foreign brokerages to hold a cautious altitude toward the company, the dealers said.

Shares of HTC rose 4.11 percent to close at NT$266.00 with 18.38 million shares changing hands, while the benchmark weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ended up 0.12 percent at 7,960.51 points.

The market was expecting the smartphone vendor to come up with measures at the new HTC One model launch ceremony to boost sales and restore investors’ confidence in the company, they said. The market is also hopeful that the new device will help the smartphone vendor shrug off its recent sluggish sales, they added.

HTC shares plunged 6.41 percent a day earlier amid fears that the company would post sales of below NT$12 billion for February and incur a net loss for the first quarter of this year.

After the market closed that day, HTC announced that its February sales totaled only NT$11.4 billion, down 26.6 percent from January and also down 44 percent from a year earlier.

Separately, KGI Securities, a local brokerage, said Wednesday it has slashed its forecast by as much as 80 percent for shipments of Taiwan-based HTC’s new flagship smartphone in the first half of 2013 due to low yield rates of some key components.

KGI Securities lowered its estimate for the HTC One from 4 million units to between 800,000 and 1.2 million units, explaining that its channel checks indicate production bottlenecks related to the phone’s voice coil motor (VCM) and compact camera module (CCM) on its UltraPixel camera. As a result of the revision, KGI predicts that HTC will ship 10.5 million smartphones in the first half of this year, far below its previous forecast of 14 million to 15 million units, it wrote in a note to clients. “We believe the production restraints that UltraPixel faces will severely limit HTC One shipments,” KGI analyst Kuo Ming-chi said.