Can Dell Keep it Going?

By Reuters  |  Print this article Print

PC maker Dell saw its quarter earnings and margins exceed Wall Street expectations as companies upgraded older technology, and the company forecast a 5 to 9 percent rise in current fiscal year revenue.

Dell's non-GAAP gross margin came in well ahead of analysts' average estimate of 18.6 percent. Revenue rose 5 percent to $15.7 billion, matching Wall Street's target.

Operating margin rose across all four Dell units, including its consumer business, which had been a drag on profits.

"Revenues were a little bit less than expected but they performed well on the margin side. Our question is -- how sustainable is this going forward?" asked Brian Marshall, an analyst at Gleacher & Co.

For fiscal 2012, Dell expects revenue growth of 5 to 9 percent, translating into revenue of $64 billion to $67 billion, mostly higher than the average forecast for $64.4 billion according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The No. 2 PC maker on Tuesday reported a net profit of $927 million, or 48 cents a share, in the fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 28, up from $334 million, or 17 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding items, Dell earned 53 cents a share, beating the average estimate of 37 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It sees non-GAAP operating income growth of 6 to 12 percent for fiscal 2012.

Although Dell has made plenty of noise in smartphone and tablet markets, its products have not been well-received, and it will have to work hard to set itself apart from rivals.

Gladden said the mobile business is currently immaterial to Dell, and said he does not expect to see it contribute to the company for a "couple" of years. (Additional reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco; Writing by Edwin Chan; Editing by Richard Chang)