Financial Technology

Financial Technology

October 16, 2012

IBM Reports Lower Revenue than Predicted by Analysts During Q3, Earnings Narrowly Beat Expectations

The technology sector continues to see mixed results with the latest news from IBM’s (News - Alert) performance in the third quarter.

IBM saw lower revenue in the Q3, with the company reporting $24.7 billion in revenue – a 5.4 percent drop compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Analysts had predicted $25.3 billion for the most recent quarter. It is the fifth straight quarter IBM has come in below analysts’ expectations, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The results were influenced by currency fluctuation, unemployment, the European debt crisis and a slowdown in technology spending due to macro-economic conditions, news reports said.

IBM shares were down 3.5 percent to $203.66 in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

In addition, net income for the recent quarter was up five percent (non-GAAP) at $4.2 billion. That compares to $4 billion in the Q3 of 2011.

North America declined but Brazil, Russia, India and China saw overall double-digit growth for the recent quarter. BRIC countries increased four percent or 11 percent when adjusted for currency.

Third-quarter revenue in the Americas was $10.4 billion, a decrease of four percent from the Q3 of 2011.

On the other hand, the company reported “strong performance” in the Smarter Planet, Business Analytics and Cloud company units.

Looking ahead for the entire year, earnings per share are up 12 percent over 2011 at at least $15.10, the company predicts.

In explaining the quarter in an analysts’ conference, Mark Loughridge, IBM’s CFO, said a few software deals were delayed and are likely to be included in the Q4. In addition, Mexico and Australia both saw double-digit drops in Q3, he added.

The company saw adjusted earnings of $3.62 a share for Q3, edging out analyst projections of $3.61 a share, according to news reports.

"In the third quarter, we continued to drive margin, profit and earnings growth through our focus on higher-value businesses, strategic growth initiatives and productivity," Ginni Rometty, IBM CEO said in a statement. "Looking ahead, we see good opportunity with a strong product lineup heading into this quarter and annuity businesses that provide a solid base of revenue, profit and cash. We are reiterating our full-year 2012 operating earnings per share expectation of at least $15.10."

In coming up with the quarterly results, IBM absorbed a charge of $160 million related to a U.K. court decision that will increase the costs for pension benefits, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. IBM also completed the sale of a sales system that was considered a one-time gain, the report adds.

“We believe that IBM remains well positioned for long-term growth based on its four key growth initiatives: smarter planet, growth markets, business analytics and cloud computing, which are expected to deliver at least $50 billion in revenues by fiscal 2015,” according to a recent report from Zacks Equity Research on Nasdaq. “We believe that IBM's strong product pipeline, expansion into emerging markets and continuous acquisitions will help it to achieve this target going forward.”

“We also believe that a strong patent portfolio and accretive acquisitions will provide IBM a competitive edge over other prominent vendors,” the Zacks report added.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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