HTC Sales Forecast Misses Estimates on iPhone Competition

HTC Corp. (2498), Asia’s second-largest smartphone maker, forecast revenue and shipments that missed analyst estimates as competition from Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy and Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone crimp demand.

Fourth-quarter revenue will be NT$125 billion ($4.2 billion) to NT$135 billion ($4.5 billion), with shipments of 12 million to 13 million units, the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company said in a statement today. The average of 20 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg is for sales of NT$150 billion. A survey by Bloomberg News of six analysts had a median shipment estimate of 13.5 million units.

HTC, which sells handsets using Google Inc.’s Android and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows systems, faces stronger competition after Apple added Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) to the list of carriers selling its iPhone, and Samsung become the first to offer the latest Android handsets. HTC may post its slowest profit and sales growth rise in almost two years this quarter, according to analyst estimates.

Third-quarter net income, reported Oct. 6, climbed 68 percent to a record NT$18.6 billion. Sales of NT$135.8 billion for the period missed analyst estimates for NT$137.4 billion.

Sprint, Google

Shipments climbed 93 percent to 13.2 million units, it said today, missing its own forecast for 13.5 million. Average selling price dropped to NT$9,992 each, the lowest in more than a year, it said.

Gross margin, a measure of profitability that tracks sales less the cost of goods sold, will be 27.5 percent to 28.5 percent this quarter, compared with 28 percent in the previous period, HTC said today.

Net income is expected to climb 31 percent to NT$19.4 billion, the slowest since the first quarter of 2010, according to the average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Analysts’ expected sales growth of 44 percent would be the slowest since the same period.

Sprint, a major HTC customer and the third-largest U.S. carrier, joined rivals in offering the iPhone for the first time this month, increasing competition with the Taiwanese company’s own offerings, including the EVO 4G handset.

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, this month unveiled the Galaxy Nexus to become the only vendor globally to offer devices with Google’s latest operating system, called Ice Cream Sandwich.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net.

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