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Acer anticipates big growth figures for ‘99

Notebooks & OEM sales to lead the way, but chips could still be down

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Taiwanese manufacturer Acer is in bullish mood, predicting 40 per cent sales growth in the first quarter of 1999. It expects to see increased demand for its own-brand PC-based products as well as in its OEM business, with overall growth for the year thought to be in the region of 20 per cent. Last year, Acer saw a 40 per cent jump in sales, but profit dropped by around one third. Stan Shih, Acer CEO, cut his own salary by a third last year in a symbolic gesture. It has also suspended its plans to float, citing unstable market conditions. Back in January, Acer’s financial director, Philip Peng said the float could go ahead in May – but not before. According to today’s Financial Times, Acer is banking heavily on sales of notebooks for this year’s growth – it is the number one notebook vendor in Italy, but in the UK it only owns around two per cent of the market. The company expects notebook shipments to grow from last year’s figure of 800,000 to perhaps as much as 1.5 million units. The long-running thorn in Acer’s side has been its semiconductor business. Plans to sell it off have come to nothing, but rising chip prices could see the chip division return to profitability. ®

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