Dell earnings match revised estimates

By Ashlee Vance, IDG News Service |  Hardware

DELL COMPUTER matched analysts' expectations Thursday when the vendor reported solid earnings for its third fiscal quarter. The earnings report comes more than a month after the company revised its revenue estimates for the quarter.

The Round Rock, Texas-based hardware maker closed the quarter with a revenue of $8.26 billion. These figures compare with $6.78 billion in revenue from the same quarter last year.

Dell also reported $674 million in net income for the quarter, or 25 cents per share, matching the consensus from 21 analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial. Net income rose 40 percent compared with last year's third quarter. The comparison excludes a one-time acquisition charge of $194 million from last year's third quarter.

Last month, the PC-making giant warned that third-quarter revenue would likely be around 3 percent lower than expectations. Like many PC vendors, Dell blamed its problems on lower demand in Europe and from small businesses.

"More than 50 percent of our revenue -- and about two-thirds our operating profit -- came from sales of enterprise products, notebooks, and services," said Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer at Dell, in a statement. "Our worldwide shipments of servers and notebooks grew significantly faster than the overall industry rate."

Dell increased shipment volumes of its Inspiron and Latitude notebook lines by 50 percent, the company said. Total sales of its server, storage, and workstation systems also rose 37 percent from last year's total.

Dell said that revenue in the Americas region rose 24 percent, with the small business and consumer segments leading the way. Within that figure, Latin America revenue surged 56 percent for the quarter.

As expected, the vendor did not report robust sales in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) markets. Sales to small business and consumer customers in those regions did move higher by 25 percent year-over-year; however, total sales in the EMEA segment was up only 7 percent.

The emerging China market provided a bright spot for the vendor, generating a 70 percent increase in sales. Dell also began selling hardware to Indian companies during the period, and reported a 39 percent increase in revenue to large corporate customers in the Asia-Pacific/Japan region.

Ashlee Vance is a San Francisco-based reporter at IDG News Service, an InfoWorld affiliate.

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