Despite worries related to the year 2000 problem hampering sales growth, Unisys Corp. today posted fourth-quarter 1999 earnings that beat Wall Street expectations by a penny.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 1999, Unisys reported earnings of US$144.4 million, or 46 cents a share, a 15 percent increase over earnings of $135.7 million, or 40 cents a share for the same period last year.
Eleven analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial predicted Unisys would earn 45 cents per share.
Revenue for the quarter was $1.96 billion, down 4.8 percent from $2.06 billion recorded in the same period last year.
Unfavorable currency exchange rates and year 2000 concerns that prompted customer spending "lockdowns," led to flat revenue figures for the quarter, Lawrence Weinbach, Unisys chairman and chief executive officer, said today in a statement.
For 1999 as a whole, Unisys reported earnings of $510.7 million compared to $376.4 million in 1998, with diluted earnings per share of $1.59 compared to earnings per share of $1.01 per share in the year-ago quarter, an increase of 57 percent. Revenue for the year was $7.54 billion, up 4.2 percent from $7.24 billion in 1998.
Unisys expects revenue to grow 8 to 10 percent in 2000, with flat returns in the first quarter and double-digit growth in the second half of the year, Brian Daly, a company spokesman said in a telephone interview today.
"We expect revenue to accelerate in the second half as people clear the Y2K logjam," Daly said. Growth is expected in outsourcing, sales of enterprise-class servers and in networking infrastructure, he added.
The company also plans to continue with debt reduction efforts which in 1999 saw the company retire all its preferred stock, paying off more than $106 million in annual dividends.
Unisys shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange closed today at $29.40, down $1.30, or 4.3 percent from the previous close.
Based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Unisys can be reached at +1-215-986-4011, or at http://www.unisys.com/.