Acer Net Income Misses Analyst Estimates on Tax Expense

Acer Inc. reported profit that missed analyst estimates after a one-time tax settlement in Europe, and said it’s concerned about demand for Microsoft Corp.’s new platform and will watch for consumer response.

Second-quarter net income at the world’s third-largest computer maker was NT$56 million ($1.9 million), compared with a NT$6.79 billion loss a year earlier, the Taipei-based company said in a statement today. The average of 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was profit of NT$480 million.

Acer, which posted its first quarterly shipment growth in two years and retook the top spot in the global notebook market, posted a tax expense that cut its earnings. A more cautious view toward Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system prompted Acer to lower its full-year shipment growth forecast while it remains critical of the software maker’s plans to sell its own tablet device.

“Originally we were expecting high growth in the second half, but because of the global economic situation and the uncertainty of the Windows ecosystem” Acer’s shipment growth expectation is not as strong, Chairman J.T. Wang said on a conference call. “Explosive growth of Windows 8 will not happen.”

Tax Dispute

Shipments this year will be unchanged to 5 percent higher than in 2011, less than an earlier forecast for 10 percent growth, because distributors are conservative about Windows 8 while the global economy remains weak, investor relations spokesman Kevin Lu said last month.

Acer had a dispute with Italian authorities over tax related to transfer pricing and resolved the issue by agreeing to a one-time NT$410 million settlement in the second quarter, Chief Financial Officer Eva Ho said on the conference call. There’s no further outstanding tax disputes, she said.

Consolidated revenue rose to NT$111 billion, from NT$102 billion a year earlier, missing the NT$115 billion average of 18 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue fell from the prior quarter because of weak non-computer sales and foreign exchange fluctuations in Europe, President Jim Wong said.

North American and Western Europe markets are still “slow” while the China PC market is softening, Wong said. Latin America, East Europe and some Asian markets such as Indonesia and India still see growth, he said.

Second-quarter operating income, which tracks sales less operating costs, was NT$433 million, compared with an operating loss of NT$7.1 billion a year earlier and the average NT$601 million of analysts’ estimates.

Shipments this quarter will be similar to the second-quarter and will climb by 5 percent to 10 percent in the fourth quarter, Wong said.

Acer lost 0.9 percent to close at NT$27.50 in Taipei before the announcement. The stock has declined 22 percent this year, compared with a 5.6 percent advance in the benchmark Taiex index.

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