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Shares of Acer jump on news of top management reshuffling

TAIPEI--Shares of Taiwanese PC vendor Acer Inc. (宏碁) soared Tuesday morning following the company's late Monday announcement of a management reshuffle that will see it recruit an executive from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC,台積電) to be president and chief executive officer, dealers said.

The buying reflected investor hopes that new management will help Acer turn its fortunes around as the company undertakes corporate restructuring in a bid to improve its product portfolio and strengthen its bottom line, they said.

Shares of Acer had added 6.18 percent to NT$18.05 with 69.08 million shares changing hands. The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed down 5.97 points, or 0.07 percent, at 8,450.49.

“After a recent sell-off amid worries over Acer's profitability, investors seized the new management news as an excuse to pick up bargains,” MasterLink Securities analyst Tom Tang said.

“As Acer is gearing up to change so that it can take on fierce global competition, the buying showed many investors are willing to pay a premium for the share price,” Tang said.

Acer said a board meeting held Monday approved the appointment of Jason Chen, the senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at TSMC, as the PC vendor's corporate president and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Acer Chairman Stan Shih (施振榮) said in a statement that Chen is an excellent manager with extensive experience and proven capability.

“A series of management reshuffles within Acer showed the company's determination to make changes after facing significant losses in the first nine months of this year, although it remains to be seen whether and how the reshuffles will really help,” Tang said.

Chen's appointment followed Shih's decision in November to take up the company's chairmanship, replacing his predecessor J.T. Wang after the PC vendor reported a net loss in the third quarter of this year.

Acer incurred NT$4.82 in loss per share after the company booked NT$9.94 billion in intangible asset impairment loss in the third quarter, including trademarks and goodwill.

Due to the bad quarter, Acer's net loss per share stood at NT$4.76 for the first nine months of this year, compared with NT$0.35 in net profit per share recorded over the same period last year.

“It is unlikely for Acer to make a profit for the year. We are keeping a close eye on its performance for 2014 as the company is making a good amount of effort in restructuring,” Tang said.

Tang said Acer still has to overcome challenges resulting from a weakening global PC business.

According to market information advisory firm IDC, worldwide PC shipments over this year are expected to fall about 10.1 percent from 2012 — the steepest year-on-year decline the global PC market has ever seen. IDC said 2014 shipments could fall a further 3.8 percent.

“So it is likely for Acer shares to face stiff technical resistance at NT$19.5-NT$20 even if the current rebounds continue,” Tang said.

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