IBM beats for Q4; 'confident' about 2010

IBM beats Wall Street's expectations for Q4 and is bullish about 2010
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

IBM today beat Wall Street's estimates for the fourth quarter, reporting income of $4.8 bilion, or $3.59 per share, a 10 percent jump from the year ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $27.2 billion, down slightly when adjusted for currency. (Statement)

Analysts had been expecting earnings of $3.47 per share on sales of $26.98 billion.

For the fiscal year, the company reported net income of $13.4 billion, or $13.01 per share, a 13 percent gain over the previous year. Sales for the year were $95.8 billion, an 8 percent drop from the previous year. Looking ahead, the company said it expects eps of "at least $11."

Gross profit margin for the quarter was $48.3 percent, up slightly. For the year, the margin was 45.7 percent.

In a statement, IBM's Chairman, president and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano, said:

IBM continued to benefit from our strategic transformation, offerings that our clients value in this economy, and our commitment to developing countries around the world. In 2009, we invested in opportunities such as Smarter Planet solutions, cloud computing and advanced analytics. These new capabilities position IBM to grow as the economy recovers. The increased operational leverage we have established by creating a globally integrated enterprise will enable us to drive greater profits as revenue growth returns. We are confident about 2010 and our ability to achieve the high end of our long-term roadmap.

On a call with analysts today, Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge took a few moments to look back beyond the last quarter or year but to look at the "dramatic transformation" of the company over the past decade. He noted, among other things, how the company shed its commodity businesses and began to shift the business mix toward software and services, doing so through 108 acquisitions during the period. He pointed to investments in growth markets and strengthening its investments in R&D. It also cited its patent portfolio, noting that about 70 percent of the patents are related to software and services, a reflection to the company's shift over the decade.

Shares of IBM were up in regular trading, closing at $134.14. Shares are down slightly in after-hours trading.

Also see: IBM targets Google Apps for business, undercuts pricing and touts reliability

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