Analyst: Apple is Not Foxconn’s Fall Guy

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares may have been wrongfully hurt by news that manufacturing partner Foxconn was involved in a hiring freeze at its various facilities in China, according to UBS analyst Steve Milunovich. Milunovich wrote in a note to investors on Wednesday that he believed the freeze was actually related to Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) products.

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The UBS analyst noted that a Foxconn spokesperson had already told Bloomberg that “the decision was unrelated to iPhone 5 production.” He added that “Apple already gave guidance for a roughly 23 percent sequential revenue decline in the March quarter, likely including a sharp reduction in iPhone shipments.”

While there was an indication of production decline at Apple’s Asian suppliers in December, there had not been a change since, Milunovich wrote. Instead, the Foxconn blame probably went to H-P.

“After conferring with our Asia tech colleagues, we believe the weakness could be attributable to H-P,” he wrote. “We think HP represents 8-10 percent of Foxconn’s revenue. We believe that Foxconn makes mostly desktop PCs for H-P along with some printers and servers. We are forecasting a 12 percent year-over-year PC revenue decline for H-P in the quarter to be announced tomorrow.”

A report earlier Wednesday said Foxconn had frozen hiring at plants that assembles the iPhone 5…

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