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Acer third-quarter net profit well below forecasts; tax, FX losses seen

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwanese PC maker Acer Inc reported third quarter net profit of T$68 million ($2.32 million), well below estimates.

A poll of 18 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S produced a mean estimate of T$756 million profit.

The company did not explain why its profit undershot expectations so dramatically, but said it would hold a briefing on Thursday to give more details of the earnings and its outlook.

One analyst said the figure was likely to be the result of foreign exchange losses and higher tax rates, which may continue to impact the fourth quarter.

"The lower-than-expected net profit was due to a forex loss of over T$100 million and a higher tax rate at 34 percent; previous guidance was around 20 percent," said KGI Securities analyst Angela Hsiang, citing her conversation with the company.

Acer was not immediately available for further comment.

In the previous quarter it also reported profit far below forecasts, which it attributed to a one-off tax issue.

One year ago, the company posted a worse-than-expected net loss as it struggled with stiff competition from tablet PCs and the effects of a restructuring.

The figures come as traditional PC makers are struggling to sell machines. Sapped of confidence by global economic troubles, many consumers are putting off buying new machines or switching to cheaper tablets instead.

Acer warned in August that growth in the PC industry could slow. Worldwide shipments of personal computers fell over 8 percent in the third quarter compared to a year earlier to 87.5 million, the steepest decline since 2001, Gartner analysts said.

Acer's Q3 profit was slightly up from net profit of T$56 million in the second quarter. In the third quarter of 2011 it made a net loss of T$$1.1 billion.

Consolidated revenue in the third quarter was T$104.4 billion, down 5.6 percent compared to the second quarter but up 11.4 percent from a year ago. In January to September, total revenue dropped 5.7 percent compared to a year ago.

Acer shares closed down 0.92 percent before the results were announced, versus the broader market's 0.48 percent decline.

($1 = 29.2505 Taiwan dollars)

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Jonathan Standing and Daniel Magnowski)

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