HTC posts first sales growth in three years, but tough times aren't over yet

The electronics giant hasn't seen sales growth since the third-quarter of 2011.

(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

HTC posted its first quarterly sales growth in three years, thanks in part to its strong device portfolio selling well during the lucrative December holiday season.

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The Taiwanese smartphone maker's fourth-quarter sales rose 11 percent to $1.5 billion from the same quarter a year prior, the first gain since the third-quarter of 2011.

HTC's net profit was about $14.7 million, or 57 cents per share.

But any signs of a recovery will be met with skepticism.

The company has financially struggled for the past three years. In recent months, its financial situation has only marginally improved. At its fiscal third-quarter earnings, the company scraped through on a razor thin profit of $75 million, compared to the $101 million loss in that year-ago quarter.

It was another blow to the company when HTC's North America chief left for rival Amazon, just days before HTC was set to announce new devices in New York.

Those new devices are driving the growth HTC needs. It was picked as the next Nexus tablet maker for Google, despite little experience in the space. The Android maker announced the Nexus 9 in October, alongside the Nexus 6 phablet smartphone.

The company did not comment on the following quarter. It's been over a year since chief executive Peter Chou offloaded many of his duties to the company's chairwoman, after claims surfaced of his alleged poor management and "shoot-from-the-hip" thinking.

HTC may be on the up -- albeit, it's early days -- but if the problems aren't with the devices, it's likely to be with management.