Acer Forecasts Strong Holiday Season

The global financial crisis hasn't dampened Acer's optimism about sales in the last three months of the year, which includes the all-important holiday season.

The world's third-largest PC vendor expects shipments of netbooks and laptop PCs to grow 20 percent to 25 percent compared to the third quarter, while desktop PC shipments remain flat. The company's fourth quarter revenue will also outpace the third quarter, but executives did not say by how much.

"People are still going into shops and buying notebooks," said Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci during the company's third-quarter investors' conference in Taipei on Friday. The only place Acer has noted a difference in business over the past month has been in emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia.

The company reported revenue of NT$159.2 billion (US$4.8 billion) for the third quarter, up 31 percent compared to NT$121.9 billion at the same time a year ago. Net profit in the quarter, which ended Sept. 30, climbed to NT$3.04 billion.

Acer's optimism is in sharp contrast to companies that have recently announced layoffs in the U.S. due to the downturn, including Yahoo and Electronic Arts. Many people fear the sharp hit the global economy took in October will hurt consumer spending during end of the year holidays. For most PC vendors, the fourth quarter represents the peak of the year in terms of earnings due to holiday season sales.

Acer also forecast solid growth in 2009, albeit slower than this year. Notebook and netbook shipments will likely rise 25 percent to 35 percent year-on-year next year, said Lanci.

"2009 probably won't be as good as 2008, but it will still be good," he said.

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