Lenovo Says Emerging-Market Sales Fuel Industry-Beating Growth

Lenovo Group Ltd. (992), the world’s second-largest computer maker, said its sales to first-time buyers in emerging markets including Brazil and India will drive growth that’s faster than the industry average.

“We believe that we will grow at a significant premium to market, as we have done before,” Milko Van Duijl, Lenovo’s president for the Asia-Pacific and Latin America, said in an interview today in Hong Kong.

Global computer shipments will rise 5 percent in 2012, “a challenging year” because of the debt crisis in the euro- area economy, researcher IDC forecast this month. Lenovo sold more computers to businesses in the U.S. and emerging markets last year, defying a slump that hurt industry sales, including those at bigger rival Hewlett-Packard Co.

“The goal is indeed realistic given Lenovo’s exposure to the fast growing PC market in the emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Russia,” said Jiong Shao, head of China strategy at Macquarie Securities Ltd in Hong Kong. “Lenovo management has been executing well over the last couple of years and the company has outgrown the overall PC market for several quarters in a row.” He rates the shares outperform, the equivalent of buy.

The computer maker rose 0.5 percent to HK$6.56 at 11:26 a.m. in Hong Kong trading. The shares have gained 27 percent this year, compared with a 4 percent advance in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

Guidance

Lenovo dropped the most in more than two years June 21 after a report in the China Times said the company had told suppliers that shipments would be slower than expected.

Van Duijl today repeated Lenovo’s June 21 response that the company hasn’t issued suppliers any new guidance.

“We never issued a statement that we would come off our numbers,” Van Duijl said today. “We quickly came out with a corrective statement. We did not issue anything. We believe in the growth.”

Lenovo got 16 percent of its $21.6 billion in total sales from emerging markets last year, 42 percent from mature markets including the U.S. and Europe and 42 percent from China, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Next year, computer shipments will gain 8.1 percent to 413.6 million units, from the 382.6 million units estimated for this year, IDC forecasts. In emerging markets, computer shipments will gain 7.4 percent this year and 9.1 percent next year, IDC forecasts.

Brazil, India

Lenovo has “tremendous growth” opportunities in emerging markets such as Brazil and the rest of Latin America, where there are still many first-time computer buyers, Van Duijl said. He didn’t offer any specific forecast for computer shipments in today’s interview.

Lenovo will be “maniacally” focused on growth in Brazil and is looking at all options for growth including both “organic and inorganic,” Van Duijl said.

“There are troubles, problems in Europe, we all see that,” Van Duijl said. “In Europe we now have double-digit market share, yet it’s only a very small portion of our revenue. There is a lot of opportunity ahead of us. Even if the market doesn’t grow fast, we will grow.”

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net; Susan Li in Hong Kong at sli31@bloomberg.net

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

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