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Notebook shipments forecast to rise 8% in second quarter

2012/04/04 13:26:39

Taipei, April 4 (CNA) Worldwide notebook computer shipments will post better-than-expected figures in the second quarter of 2012 thanks to launches of new chips and ultra-thin laptops, as well as the recovery of the hard drive disk supply, a British investment bank predicted recently.

After three consecutive quarters of lower-than-average seasonal shipments, Barclays Capital looks for personal computer shipments to beat seasonal expectations for the first time in four quarters.

The bank expects notebook (NB) shipments from top-tier Taiwanese original design manufacturers (ODMs) to grow 8 percent subsequently in the second quarter of this year to reach 39.8 million units, better than the seasonal average of 6 percent.

The top five ODMs are Quanta Computer Inc., Compal Electronics Inc., Wistron Corp., Inventec Corp. and Pegatron Corp., and they account for around 90 percent of global NB shipments.

"We believe most of the shipment upside is due to channel inventory refilling for Intel Corp.’s new Ivy Bridge chips and the next generation of Ultrabook launches, combined with hard drive disk price declines from better supply availability,”said Kirk Yang, head of Asia ex-Japan tech hardware research at Barclays Bank, Hong Kong.

“However, the recent change of Chongqing’s leadership in China could bring significant uncertainties for this new western China manufacturing center in terms of the new government’s commitment and future financial incentives for NB ODMs,”he wrote in a report to clients.

Over the past several quarters, NB ODMs have been aggressively trying to diversify to other non-NB products, such as LCD TVs, servers, tablet PCs and smartphones, in order to mitigate the impact from weakening demand for NBs, Yang said.

However, Yang believed that only Quanta has demonstrated the capability to both diversify away from NBs and maintain profitability at the same time.

According to Barclays' report, Compal still saw close to 80 percent revenue exposure to NBs and has seen its operating margin drop to the lowest point over the past 16 quarters, while Wistron still has 60 percent revenue exposure to NBs with LCD TV shipments turning weaker and weaker.

Pegatron derives 60 percent of its revenue from the cloud computing business but its margin on NBs is just slightly above break-even point, while Inventec still has 70 to 75 percent revenue from NBs and continues to see sluggish margins, the report said.

(By Jeffrey Wu)