HTC sees Q1 revenue flat to 17 percent lower versus Q4

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp <2498.TW> said on Monday that it expects revenue be flat to 17 percent lower in the first quarter compared with the previous three months, worse than forecast, while margins will also be flat to lower.

The company, which has been struggling to maintain sales in a market dominated globally by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> and Apple Inc , said it expects first-quarter revenue of T$50 billion to T$60 billion ($1.69-2.03 billion). That compares with T$60 billion in the fourth quarter and T$65.75 billion a year ago.

Analysts have forecast that HTC would earn revenue of T$62.77 billion for the quarter, according to the average projection of 18 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

HTC also said it expects a first-quarter gross margin of about 21 to 23 percent, flat to lower compared with 23 percent in the prior quarter, and an operating margin of 0.5 to 1.0 percent, flat to lower versus the previous 1 percent.

HTC did not elaborate in its statement but will give a briefing at 0700 GMT.

($1 = 29.6055 Taiwan dollars)

(Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Edmund Klamann)