Palm hails Treo sales for strong quarter

Sales of the Treo smartphone drove Palm Inc.'s fourth quarter profit to US$27.2 million, compared to $17.7 million for the same quarter last year, the company said Thursday.

Palm notched $0.25 earnings per share on revenue of $403.1 million for the quarter ending June 2, up from $0.17 per share on revenue of $335.8 million for that quarter last year. Measured by pro forma accounting, Palm earned $0.29 per share, which beat the consensus forecast of $0.23 per share from analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

The Sunnyvale, California company recorded revenue of $1.6 billion for the full fiscal year 2006, up 24 percent from $1.3 billion for fiscal year 2005. Palm earned an annual profit of $336.2 million, compared to its 2005 profit of $66.4 million.

Palm pointed to strong sales of its Treo smartphone as the main factor for its success. The company earned $1 billion in revenue over the fiscal year from Treo sales alone, accounting for 62.5 percent of revenue, said Palm Chief Executive Officer Ed Colligan in a statement.

Throughout fiscal 2006, Palm shipped 4.8 million mobile devices, including 2.3 million Treo smartphones and 2.5 million Palm handheld computers. That includes fourth quarter shipments of 623,000 smartphones and 495,000 handheld computers.

Palm's results were strong despite a one-time payment of $22.5 million to Xerox Corp. as the settlement of a patent infringement lawsuit announced Wednesday. The deal allowed Palm to continue using the Graffiti handwriting-recognition system on its handheld computers.

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