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Company's CFO says new flagship LTE models will launch globally in 2012, restore sales growth

If there's one of the Android superstars that's stumbled in the last few months it's been HTC Corp. (TPE:2498).  Globally the Taiwanese phone maker has seen its pattern of quarterly growth come to an end.  Indeed, it predicted zero growth in Q4 sales, even as smartphone sales as whole continue to rise at a double-digit pace.

Chief Financial Officer Winston Yung brushed off the disturbing metric, commenting that HTC would overall show large growth from 2010 to 2011.  He explains, "I don't think it's so serious.  We have six quarters of improvement, the most conservative guidance is 45 million units of shipments this year, a lot higher than 25 million last year."

Investors apparently feel otherwise.  They've hammered HTC's stock 32.5 percent downwards since November 16.

The plunge is frustrating for the company as it comes not long after HTC received a happy surprise, finding itself topping American firm Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) in Q3 2011 U.S. smartphone sales.  HTC's strong performance in the U.S. was not entirely unexpected, but its top position was a surprise.

HTC also faces legal woes stemming from its battle with Apple.  Last year it was the first Android phone maker to be attacked by attacked by Apple in U.S. court.  HTC filed a counter complaint to the ITC in May and Apple filed a second complaint in June.  Apple wants to ban all shipments of HTC smartphones into the U.S., the company's lone remaining bastion of strong sales.

On the legal front, HTC did catch a bit of a break, seeing a potential sales ban on its phones in Germany due to infringement of a patent from a firm called IPCom lifted when the patent involved was ruled invalid by the EU.

And HTC's Mr. Yung expressed confidence that upcoming brand new 2012 flagship models will right the ship for HTC.  He comments, "We will focus on the product next year, better and more competitive. Other than new LTE phones for the U.S. market, we also have phones for the global market. We will launch some worldwide flagship products. We're confident in them."

HTC will need to show proof of its turnaround if it hopes to slow its falling stock, which is being unloaded by foreign institutional investors.

Source: Reuters





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