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Hey, Acer: Is that a rounding error, or did you actually make a profit?

Actually, it was a little financial magic wot won it

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Only a foreign exchange tailwind and stock disposal helped ailing Acer return to profit for calendar Q1 of 2013.

The Taiwanese firm booked sales of NT$91.9bn (£2bn) during the period, down more than 18 per cent year-on-year. This was "in line with the original shipment outlook", Acer said in a statement accompanying the numbers.

After two consecutive loss-making years, the early portents for a bumper 2013 don't look great: operating profit from the first three months of the year came in at NT$29m (£632,000) compared to NT$138m (£3m) in Q1 2012.

The accounts were hauled up by a series of one-off influencing factors, ensuring Acer posted profit after tax of NT$515m (£11.2m) for the quarter - still a wafer-thin margin of less than one per cent.

Acer said its profit had been bolstered "due to a number of non-operating incomes during Q1, including foreign exchange and stock disposal gains".

In years gone by, the meteoric rise of the netbook and low-cost notebooks propelled Acer upwards, taking it close to the top of the global PC market, but it was caught out by the Q3 2010 consumer spending slowdown.

A lack of competitive tablet alternatives, certainly none of the Acer-branded slablets are shifting respectable volumes, has hindered its recovery since.

A massive $150m write-down of stock put paid to any Acer profits in 2011 and the write-down of assets related to Acer's sub brands forced it into the red in 2012. ®

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