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Light the lanterns people, Acer made a profit in 2014

Finally, an end to the three years of consecutive losses

A recovery of sorts is taking place at Acer with calendar 2014 P&L accounts returning to the black in a meaningful way, bringing closure to three consecutive years of losses.

The latest CEO Jason Chen is steadying operations, and more conservative sales forecasts are also paying off, as Acer wasn’t forced to write down stock, goodwill, or components.

For the year, Acer reported an operating profit of NT$2.71bn ($86.80m, £58.52m), compared with an operating loss of NT$11.37bn ($364m, £240m) in the prior 12 months.

This is in spite of an 8.5 per cent drop in turnover to NT$329.68bn ($10.56bn, £7.07bn), indicating that higher margin product sales and strict cost controls are the likely causes of rising profits.

In the global stakes, Acer grew PC shipments by 11.6 per cent last year to 6.78 million, according to Gartner data. The market expanded on average by just one per cent.

This followed several years of declining fortunes for computer makers, with demand shifting to tablets, markets dominated by Apple and Samsung.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, Acer posted consolidated sales of NT$85.94bn (£1.8bn), up 0.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter, but down 0.8 per cent year-on-year.

Operating income came in at NT$814m (£17.48m), compared with a loss from operations of NT$8.2bn (£166m) in the same period a year earlier.

Acer has placed 300 million new shares onto the Taiwanese stock exchange with the expectation of raising NT$5.4bn to pay down debts and fund a strategy to become a “hardware+software+services” business.

With demand for PCs forecast to fall again, following last year’s Windows XP induced revival, Acer needs to find more ways to get its top line moving upwards again.

An Acer spokesman told us the business is no longer talking about "transformation" as "this is past" and the business has "stabilised".

He said it plans to launch convertible PCs, expand Chromebook market share (may be easier now a few rivals have dropped out), will start to ship smartphones to more countries and add a "premium" range, the Aspire Nitro. ®

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