Creative loss tops US$100M as sales fall sharply

Multimedia hardware supplier Creative Technology Ltd. posted a loss of US$101 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2001, ended March 31, with sales down by 20.4 percent from the same quarter last year to US$263 million, the company announced in a statement Friday.

Nasdaq-listed Creative, known for its SoundBlaster range of audio and video cards and its Nomad MP3 audio player range, said that US$75 million of the loss could be attributed to write-downs in its investment portfolio. Two years ago, in order to diversify away from the competitive audio/video card business, Creative set up a fund to invest in Internet-related startups.

Investments showed a positive return of more than US$100 million in fiscal 2000, but the dot-com meltdown this year has hit the portfolio hard, Creative Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sim Wong Hoo said in the statement.

Creative's sales of audio and video cards are strongly tied to cycles in the PC market, and the slowdown in PC sales in the midst of a company restructuring made for a challenging quarter, the company said.

The consumer sector, typified by the Nomad products, has enormous potential, Creative said. Creative recently introduced a 6G byte Nomad Jukebox C-Series portable digital audio player for US$269.

Creative released its results after the close of trading on the Nasdaq market.

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