HTC smartphone delays hit profits

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PHONE manufacturer HTC reported a record-low quarterly profit yesterday due to delays to the full launch of its 2013 flagship smartphone.

A shortage of cameras meant the Taiwanese company managed to introduce its latest HTC One phone in just three markets by the end of the first quarter, rather than the planned 80.

It does not expect to kick off sales across Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region before the end of April.

HTC said its unaudited net profit was T$85 million (£1.86m) in its January-March first quarter, compared with T$1bn in the prior quarter and T$10.9bn in the same period last year. It was the lowest since HTC began reporting quarterly profits in 2004.

Dennis Chan, an analyst with Yuanta Securities in Taipei, warned: “As HTC failed to establish its brand image by selling its most important flagship phone on time, it’ll be very difficult to push on the mid- and low-end phones when HTC launches them in Q3-Q4.”

The company has partnered with Facebook, which unveiled software last week called “Home” that replaces the home screen on some Android smartphones, and introduced an HTC-made handset that is pre-installed with the new app.

HTC was the world’s tenth-biggest smartphone maker by shipments in the fourth quarter, according to IT research firm Gartner, jostling in a crowded field behind the top-two heavyweights Samsung and Apple.

Shares of HTC have lost more than half of their value in the past 12 months, under- performing a slight rise in Taiwan’s main TAIEX index.