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Taiwan's Acer swings back to profit in Q1

Taiwan's struggling personal computer maker Acer said Thursday it had swung back to profit in the first three months to March, ending three consecutive quarterly losses due to better cost and inventory control.

TAIPEI: Taiwan's struggling personal computer maker Acer said Thursday it had swung back to profit in the first three months to March, ending three consecutive quarterly losses due to better cost and inventory control.

Acer posted a net profit of Tw$1 million ($34,000) in the first quarter, improved from a net loss of Tw$7.63 billion in the fourth quarter last year but down from Tw$515 million in net profit in the same period last year.

Consolidated revenue fell by 11.4 per cent on-quarter and 16.6 per cent on-year to Tw$76.72 billion while operating income rose to Tw$127 million thanks to "effective control of inventory and costs, stabilising gross profit and other factors," it said in a statement.

Acer has set up a business restructuring group led by founder Stan Shih, who also returned as chairman and interim president late last year to launch a series of reforms after two top executives quit over the firm's poor performance.

In January, Acer vowed to formulate product strategy, production planning and inventory control with more caution when it posted a third consecutive full-year net loss in 2013 while senior executives have taken voluntary salary cuts of 30 per cent from the same month.

Shih founded Acer in 1976 and built it into the world's second largest PC maker in its heyday, and one of the best known Taiwanese brands internationally, before retiring in 2004.

But Acer's fortunes have worsened in recent years as sales have been hit by competition from Apple and other rivals.

In December, Shih relinquished his positions of CEO and president to Jason Chen, a former marketing executive at leading microchip maker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

He is scheduled to retire as chairman on June 18, the same day as its shareholders meeting, during which his successor will also be elected.

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