EMC posts sales gain, but offers no forecast

EMC posted higher revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008, though its profit was hit by a restructuring charge.

EMC defied the economic doldrums in the fourth quarter of 2008, posting revenue up 5 percent from a year earlier on the strength of its storage systems and the VMware virtualization business.

But the company's profit fell, hit in part by a restructuring charge of US$0.10 per share. Net income was $288 million, or $0.14 per share, a sharp drop from a year earlier, when EMC reported net income of $526 million, or $0.24 per share. Not counting the restructuring charge, EMC made $0.24 per share in the quarter, slightly beating the consensus estimate of $0.23 per share among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Quarterly revenue hit a record US$4.02 billion, including VMware and all other EMC businesses. That surpassed analysts' estimates of $3.99 billion. VMware saw the strongest revenue rise, from $412 million to $514 million, and EMC's core storage business also gained, with its revenue rising to $3.14 billion from $3.03 billion a year earlier.

But security product revenue from the company's RSA division fell slightly, and the Content Management and Archiving division saw a drop of more than 10 percent.

EMC beat the downturn by aligning itself with customers' priorities and delivering a strong product lineup, Chairman, President and CEO Joe Tucci said in a press release. But the company wouldn't estimate future revenue or earnings, citing the weak economy and limited visibility. EMC said it will continue to streamline operations and cut costs throughout 2009.

Revenue growth was strongest in the US, with a 6 percent gain from a year earlier, EMC said. Revenue from outside the US was up 4 percent in the quarter.

For the full year 2008, EMC had total revenue of US$14.88 billion, up 12 percent from a year earlier, the sixth-consecutive annual revenue increase for the company. Net income for the year was $1.35 billion, or $0.64 per share.

In afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the company's shares (EMC) were down US$0.26 at $10.73.

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