IBM meets expectations, net income up 15 percent

Amidst a dreary earnings season, IBM stood out by meeting analyst estimates in posting earnings per share of 98US cents, the consensus figure of analysts polled by First Call/ Thomson Financial.

The company announced Wednesday that net income for the first quarter of 2001 was $1.75 billion, a 15 per cent increase over the year-earlier period. First quarter revenue totalled $US21 billion, a 9 per cent increase from the year-earlier results.

IBM said its services revenue grew 21 per cent over last year's first quarter, while its micro-electronics OEM (original equipment manufacturer) revenue increased 117 per cent and its WebSphere management software revenue climbed 53 per cent.

Globally, the company's revenue was up 18 per cent in Asia, 11 per cent in Europe, and 7 per cent in the Americas.

In a statement accompanying the earnings release, IBM chairman and chief executive Lou Gerstner attributed the strong results to IBM's identity as a "diversified, services-led company". He said that while many in the industry have been "a bit carried away" by Internet mania, IBM remained focused on building its strength as a services company and on developing new products and technologies.

IBM's share price surged in anticipation of its earnings announcement, made after the market closed.

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