HTC profit worse than expected

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC has reported a worse-than-expected net profit in the fourth quarter, despite aggressive cost cutting and a one-time gain.

HTC profit worse than expected

The company reported net profit of T$0.3bn (€7.37m), compared to a net loss of T$2.97bn in the previous quarter and profit of T$1.01bn in the same quarter of 2012.

The figure lags behind the expected net profit of T$721.71m.

The number highlights how quickly problems have piled up at a company that just over two years ago supplied one in every 10 smartphones sold around the world.

HTC, which has lost nearly three-quarters of its market value in the last two years, is now worth about $4bn (€2.9bn), dwarfed by rivals like Apple and Samsung.

New management — installed in the last quarter to tackle that slide — must persuade customers the brand can still stand for stylish, feature-loaded phones, while keeping a lid on development costs.

Despite its latest flagship product, the HTC One, garnering rave reviews, the company’s global share of the smartphone market has declined to a mere 2.2% in the third quarter of 2013 from a peak of 10.3% in the third quarter of 2011, data from research firm Gartner shows.

While the company’s recent ‘Here’s To Change’ campaign has seen an advertising revamp featuring Robert Downey Jr, analysts remain sceptical about its ability to differentiate its brand image in a highly saturated playing field.

The company has embarked on a cost-cutting campaign that includes buying its chips from cheaper vendors and outsourcing production. It also sold its stake in headphone brand Beats Electronics, booking a one-time pre-tax profit of T$2.5bn.

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