Harvey Norman’s David Ackery disputes Citigroup profit predictions

By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Harvey Norman’s electrical general manager David Ackery has disputed Citigroup predictions the company will see an extra three per cent on top of normal growth next year thanks to the Labor party’s education-focussed computer rebate.

Ackery said while the company would benefit from the potential legislation, “Anyone who’s floating figures of percentage increases next year, they’re kidding themselves.”

He said various factors would influence the profit increase in the coming year.

“I don’t know how people come up with these numbers. What’s the average sell price of a computer going to do over the next 12 months? We don’t even know what the final assistance from the government will be. We would assume it would be something, but what would the fine print be?”

Ackery said the whole industry would benefit from the rebate, but questioned whether it would go through Parliament in its initial form.

“Any help you get from time to time from the government usually results in some sort of benefit. If they hold true to their promise, it should be good for anyone who’s in the computer/IT retail business.”

He also said the company’s pre-Christmas sales were “going well”, and had met their targets.

The new Labor government’s high speed broadband network would also help the industry, he said, as people required faster equipment to deal with the increase in content quality.

“If Telstra can ever improve the quality of the broadband, then we’ll get a whole new era of product and technologies.

“We’re just so far behind in this area, contrary to all the advertising.

“To handle the increased speed and quality of the delivery of the content, you’re going to need faster machines and more capable and more suitable machines. And when I say machines, we’re not only talking laptops, there’s PVRs … when the 1080p visual products can be used to its maximum … it’s a great future.”

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