HTC Posts Record Revenue, Profit on Android Phones

HTC Posts Record Revenue, Profit on Android Phones
Mobile phones manufactured by HTC Corp. are displayed at one of the company's shops in Taipei, Taiwan. Photographer: Maurice Tsai/Bloomberg

HTC Corp., the world’s largest maker of handsets using Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. operating systems, almost doubled quarterly profit, beating analyst estimates as smartphone demand drove sales to a record.

Third-quarter net income climbed 95 percent to a record NT$11.1 billion ($360 million) from NT$5.7 billion a year earlier, the Taoyuan, Taiwan-based company said in a statement today. That exceeded the NT$9.2 billion average of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales more than doubled from a year earlier, driven by models using Google’s Android platform, which overtook Research In Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry software as the most popular operating system in the U.S. among new smartphone buyers. The release of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 software this quarter may also help HTC increase sales.

“HTC will be a key beneficiary of the robust smartphone up-cycle, growing popularity of Android, and Microsoft’s strong push of WP7,” Jeff Pu, an analyst at Fubon Financial Holding Co. in Taipei, wrote in a report yesterday. “HTC’s improving brand awareness and software capability will continue to support its growth momentum into 2011.”

Consolidated revenue rose to NT$76 billion, beating HTC’s July 29 forecast for NT$70 billion and trailing the NT$77.6 billion average of nine analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. HTC forecast in July that third-quarter shipments would more than double to 6.5 million units.

Product Transition

“September shipments were impacted by the transition from old products to new, with large volume shipments to begin in October,” the company said in the statement, without providing sales volume data.

HTC rose 3 percent to NT$719 at the close of trade in Taipei, before earnings were announced. The stock has more than doubled this year, driving its market value above $19 billion and making it Taiwan’s fifth-largest listed company by market capitalization. Taiwan’s Taiex index has added 1.2 percent in the period, trailing a 7.8 percent advance in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.

Android, the free operating system developed by Google, had a 32 percent share of the U.S. market for smartphones bought in the past six months, surpassing Apple Inc.’s iPhone and the BlackBerry platforms, which were tied in second place, according to August data from Nielsen Co.

Global shipments of smartphones, or handsets connected to the Internet, will climb 55 percent this year to 269.6 million units, researcher International Data Corp. said Sept. 7.

Mindshare, Market Share

“Additional product introductions and an expected flurry of smartphone buying activity in the second half of the year will push the market well above previous expectations,” IDC said.

Android and Apple’s iPhone software “have taken away both mindshare and market share from the old regime, and have helped propel the market forward.”

HTC’s revenue may climb to NT$91 billion this quarter, according to the average of nine analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. HTC is rated the equivalent of “buy” by 22 of 29 analysts, with two recommending investors sell the stock and four rating it “hold,” according to Bloomberg data.

HTC’s global brand awareness rose to 40 percent by the first half of this year from 10 percent last year after it spent more on marketing and advertising, it said in July.

The company released its first own-brand handsets in China during the quarter. HTC also unveiled an upgraded version of its Desire handset with a high-definition display.

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