Dell Warns of Shortfall in Q4 Sales, Profits

SAN FRANCISCO (01/26/2000) - Dell Computer Corp. said today it will report lower-than-expected earnings and revenue for its fourth fiscal quarter ending Jan. 28. The company cited shortages of key semiconductor products and slower-than-expected corporate sales in the wake of the year 2000 date change.

Fourth-quarter earnings will be about US$430 million, or 16 cents per share, including a gain of about 1 cent per share from investments, the Round Rock, Texas-based PC maker said in a release issued today. Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 21 cents per share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.

Revenue for the quarter will be about $6.7 billion -- 30 percent higher than the same period a year ago, but again lower than the company had anticipated, Dell said.

Dell is due to announce its fourth-quarter financial results on Feb. 10.

The PC vendor was hit by uneven supplies of some key semiconductor products, which led to about $300 million in lost sales, primarily in recently launched consumer products, Dell said.

In addition, corporate demand for Dell's products in the wake of the year 2000 date change was lower than anticipated, reducing sales by a further $500 million, Dell said. Many IT companies had expected to see sales boosted after the New Year by customers who delayed equipment purchases because of concerns about the impact of the year 2000 problem.

Despite the bad news, Dell said it still expects revenue for the quarter to rise two to three times faster than the rate of the worldwide PC market as a whole.

"While we're clearly disappointed with our operating results, our overall business is healthy and we believe Dell will continue to significantly outpace the revenue and profit growth of our major competitors and of the industry at large," Tom Meredith, Dell's chief financial officer, said in today's statement.

For the full year, Dell expects to report revenue of more than $25 billion, which would be an increase of 38 percent over the prior year. Annual earnings are expected to be about $1.8 billion, or 68 cents per share, up 28 percent over prior-year earnings of 53 cents per share.

Dell, in Round Rock, Texas, can be reached at +1-512-338-4400 or http://www.dell.com/.

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