By Yoko Kubota
BEIJING -- Foxconn Technology Group's profit fell nearly 18% in the first quarter as its biggest customer, Apple Inc., is experiencing an accelerated decline in sales of the iPhone.
Taiwan-based Foxconn said Tuesday its profit in the latest period was 19.83 billion new Taiwan dollars (US$637 million), lower than the NT$23.05 billion average estimate of analysts polled by FactSet and a year-earlier profit of NT$24.08 billion.
Foxconn's first-quarter revenue rose 2.5% from a year earlier to NT$1.054 trillion.
The company, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is the world's largest contract electronics maker and assembles Apple's iPhones among other products. It relies on Apple for about half of its revenue, according to analysts' estimates.
Apple said sales of the iPhone, long the biggest driver of its business, fell 17% for the three months through March 30. Demand for the product has been hobbled by smartphone owners holding on to devices longer and by competition from Chinese rivals offering lower-price handsets that are still rich in features.
In the latest headache for Apple, smartphones could be among products from China hit by a new round of U.S. tariffs potentially coming as early as this summer.
Foxconn doesn't hold earnings calls or briefings.
The company on Friday released a list of board nominees following last month's announcement by its chairman, Terry Gou, that he wanted to run for president of Taiwan.
The directors slate includes Mr. Gou; Young Liu, who heads Foxconn's semiconductor business; Fang-Ming Lu, a current board member and the chairman of Asia Pacific Telecom Co.; J.W. Tai, the president of Foxconn subsidiary Sharp Corp.; and Sung-Ching Lu, the chairman of Foxconn Interconnect Technology Ltd.
The nominations will be put to a vote at an annual shareholders meeting scheduled for June 21. Once a new board is approved, it will choose a chairman, a company spokesman said.
Write to Yoko Kubota at firstname.lastname@example.org