UPDATE 1-Acer breaks losing streak with slim first-quarter profit

Thu May 8, 2014 1:27pm IST

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* Company ekes out Q1 net profit of $33,200

* Potential board members named, one may be next chairman

By Michael Gold

TAIPEI, May 7 (Reuters) - Taiwan's Acer Inc reported its first net profit in nearly a year on Thursday, a slight reversal for a computer maker that has been slammed by rapidly declining fortunes in PCs worldwide.

The company also released a list of potential new board members, one of whom may replace 69-year-old chairman Stan Shih, who announced his retirement last Sunday.

Acer's first-quarter net profit of T$1 million ($33,200) is the most recent in a string of bleak earnings reports as the company has reported either losses or meager profits every quarter since early 2011.

But the results beat expectations of a T$1.17 billion loss and compares to slim net profit of T$514.55 million in the same period last year - the last time the company made into the black.

The list of new board of directors candidates, which includes company CEO Jason Chen and Shih himself, comes only six months after Shih returned to the company to engineer a turnaround in the face of mounting losses.

Shih oversaw the appointment of former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd sales director Jason Chen as CEO in December, the latest in a series of executive reshuffles over the last few years.

But Chen and Shih's new initiatives, including a push into cloud computing, has not led to renewed optimism about their prospects amid a weak global PC market and cratering sales.

Of 27 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, 22 maintain either a "sell" or "strong sell" rating on the firm, unchanged from three months ago.

Research house IDC said Acer's PC shipments saw a massive 20.2 percent on-year drop in the first quarter, far eclipsing a slimmer 4.4 percent slide in the overall market.

Rivals Lenovo Group Ltd, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell all saw gains in the same period.

($1 = 30.1045 Taiwan dollars) (Reporting by Michael Gold; Editing by Matt Driskill)