Dell has best quarter ever

  • Tom Krazit (IDG News Service)
  • 13 February, 2004 12:11

Dell has set records for revenue and product shipments in the fourth quarter of its 2004 fiscal year as the company continued its strong financial performance of the last year.

Revenue was $US11.5 billion, up 18 per cent from the $9.7 billion recorded in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003. Net income was $749 million, up 24 per cent from $603 million a year earlier.

Servers led the way for Dell, with shipments increasing 40 per cent compared to last year's fourth quarter. Storage revenue increased 47 per cent, and Inspiron and Latitude notebook shipments increased 40 per cent.

Dell's enterprise customers are starting to purchase IT equipment at rates not seen in recent quarters, said Jim Schneider, Dell's chief financial officer.

"As profits are coming back, they're realising why they invested in information technology to begin with," said Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer.

Dell has received more invitations to bid on corporate upgrade projects and is seeing more activity among its larger accounts, Schneider said.

Profitability at the company continues to improve from year to year as it sells more enterprise products such as servers and storage, Dell said. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004, growth in its enterprise product group was 32 per cent. That segment now represents 21 per cent of Dell's overall business, up from 19 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, he said.

The fourth quarter is a time of heavy consumer spending, and Dell's results also reflected that trend. Revenue from its software and peripherals division, which includes its newly introduced digital televisions, DJ music player and Axim personal digital assistants, increased 36 per cent. Dell sells both its own products in this category as well as products from other companies, and half of the fourth-quarter revenue came from Dell-branded products, it said.

The company's healthy results extended around the world. Fourth quarter shipments increased 33 per cent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Total shipments to the Asia-Pacific and Japan increased 36 per cent, including a 47 per cent increase in shipments of servers and notebooks to China.

North and South America still represent the bulk of Dell's business, accounting for 67 per cent of revenue in the fourth quarter. Europe provided 22 per cent, while Asia-Pacific and Japan accounted for 11 per cent.

For the full year, Dell recorded $41.4 billion in revenue, an increase of 17 per cent from fiscal 2003 revenue of $35.4 billion. Net income for the full year was $2.6 billion, up 25 per cent from net income of $2.1 billion recorded in 2003.

Looking ahead to the first quarter of fiscal 2005, Dell expects product shipments to increase more than 20 per cent. Revenue will be about $11.2 billion, which would represent an increase of 17 per cent as compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2004.