IBM meets expectations, net income up 15 percent

Amidst a dreary earnings season, IBM Corp. stood out by meeting analyst estimates in posting earnings per share of US$0.98, 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 percent increase over the year-earlier period. First quarter revenue totaled $21 billion, a 9 percent increase from the year-earlier results.

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

Globally, the company's revenue were up 18 percent in Asia, 11 percent in Europe, and 7 percent in the Americas.

In a statement accompanying the earnings release, IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 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 (IBM) share price surged in anticipation of its earnings announcement, made after the market closed. The company ended trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange at $106.50, up 6.8 percent.