For Acer, A Bad Year Turns Brutal

Chairman Shih's comeback plan leaves the markets cold

Last month, Acer Inc. Chairman Stan Shih did what he has done before: restructured his ailing company. The Dec. 26 announcement came after an especially rough year, in which Taiwan's top PC maker lost a $640 million deal to build computers for IBM and predicted that its earnings would rise only 4%, to $242 million. Over the past 12 months Acer's stock has plunged 80% and is trading at about 50 cents. "The market has delivered a very clear message," says Shih, who is 58 and plans to retire in 2003 for health reasons. "In the next two years I have to focus."

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