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Wednesday, December 08, 2004
BenQ chairman: No reason to be optimistic about 1Q outlook

There seems to be no reason to be optimistic about the IT industry in the first quarter of next year since currencies and oil prices keep fluctuating, according to BenQ chairman KY (Kuen-Yao) Lee.

Most system makers have reduced inventory levels to prepare for the worst, but Lee warned that makers may not be ready to respond quickly, if the market picks up faster than expected.

From this September to November, the NT dollar has appreciated about 4% against the US dollar. Since most export business is conducted in US dollars, Taiwan?s manufacturers have been getting less NT dollars for their products.

Rising oil prices are also set to impact margins, with financial firm Goldman Sachs predicting that oil will average US$46 a barrel in 2005, up from an average of US$42 in 2004, according to the Taipei Times.

Despite being rather conservative about the IT industry in the first quarter of next year, Lee, speaking at a company event for the third anniversary of its ?BenQ? brand, pointed out that the company?s own-brand sales doubled this year to NT$70 billion and are likely to double again next year, with LCD monitors and projectors remaining its two key segments.

BenQ?s own-brand sales will exceed 40% of its total sales in the fourth quarter of this year, close to the company?s goal of own-brand sales accounting for half of all sales in 2008, Lee claimed.

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