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HTC sees first year-over-year revenue gain since 2011

HTC generated $1.5 billion in sales during the fourth quarter and posted strong profits, an unaudited report says.

HTC's One M8 handset. CNET

Mobile handset maker HTC had a strong end to 2014, helping the company post its first year-over-year gain since 2011.

During the fourth quarter of the year, HTC's revenue hit NT$47.9 billion (about $1.5 billion), topping the NT$42.9 billion the company posted during the same period last year, HTC announced on Tuesday. The year-over-year revenue gain is the first the company has posted since its 2011 third quarter. In addition, HTC reported that its profit hit NT$470 million during the fourth quarter.

According to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, HTC's sales were slightly above expectations. Walkley said that the primary driver in HTC's fourth-quarter performance was "stronger hardware shipments," adding that the Nexus 9 tablet designed in tandem with Google was more successful than anticipated.

Operating in a highly competitive mobile world against the likes of Apple, Samsung and China-based smartphone maker Xiaomi, HTC has been experiencing troubling times in the past few years. Its line of smartphones -- while well-received among reviewers -- have failed to captivate consumers. The result has been declining revenue and profit.

The fact that HTC was able to grow its financials during the fourth quarter is a good sign. However, its full-year revenue was down when compared to 2013, so the company is by no means out of the woods.

Indeed, Walkley believes that while the fourth quarter was better than expected, HTC might have some trouble in 2015.

"With our recent US wireless surveys indicating continuing strong demand and high-tier smartphone market share gains for the new iPhone 6 devices ... we anticipate a challenging 2015 for HTC's high-tier Android portfolio," Walkley said.

HTC's earnings report on Tuesday shows only unaudited results. The company likely will release its audited fourth quarter financials in the coming weeks.

HTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update 7:20 a.m. PT to include Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley's comments.