HTC and Acer switch fortunes as smartphones and tablets outmode netbooks and PCs

HTC is now valued at 22.2 times reported earnings, compared with 10.6 for Acer. Only in February last year, HTC had a PE ratio of 11 times, while Acer was at 22.

Taipei-based HTC is the world’s largest maker of handsets using operating systems from Google and Microsoft. Acer is the world’s second-largest manufacturer of personal computers.

HTC makes Android and Windows Mobile smartphonesThe wheel of fortune for the two companies seems to have turned as sales of smartphones and tablet computers grew at the expense of notebooks and personal computers.

Prior to the explosive growth, set off by Apple, of the smartphone and tablet sector, Acer had snatched the lead from Asus for a similarly explosive growth in the netbook sector.

From HTC’s low in February last year, it has rallied some 264 percent, while Acer has fallen by 36 percent. According to Kevin Chang from Citigroup, Acer is the biggest seller of consumer notebooks in the developed world.

Acer won the pole position for the netbook market from AsusIn a report dated March 28, Chang wrote that “Consumers are not buying notebooks because they have already spent money on new tablet PCs or on upgrading their handsets from feature phones to smartphones.” He adds that Acer could become “a much smaller company in the next few years,” if tablet PC sales grow to exceed those for notebooks.

Not surprisingly, Chang has a “sell” rating on Acer’s stock and a “buy” recommendation on HTC.

A March 24 report from the Goldman Sachs Group estimates that HTC’s market worth may reach $100 billion in the next three to five years from $30 billion now, as the company ships a possible 200 million smartphones and 30 million tablet computers a year.

HTC’s value has quadrupled since reaching a low of $7.4 billion in February last year, while Acer’s market capitalization has declined to $5.6 billion from a peak of $9.4 billion reached in January 2010.

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