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IBM: A Tech Titan Going Strong

By    |   Monday, 09 May 2011 01:04 PM

International Business Machines (IBM), the world’s largest computer-services company, has a long and illustrious history. Since its inception 100 years ago, the company has been on the forefront of every development involving computers — from the mainframe to the personal computer to modern information-technology consulting services.

IBM holds more patents than any other U.S. technology company and has nine research laboratories around the world. Its products now include hardware, software, and technology systems integration services. The company has a strong presence overseas, generating about 65 percent of its sales there.

IBM’s net income rose 10 percent in the first quarter, to $2.86 billion from $2.6 billion a year earlier. Revenue gained 8 percent to $24.6 billion, exceeding analysts’ estimates.

An increase in mainframe computer sales and a surge in activity in emerging markets helped power the gains. Its newest mainframe computer, introduced last year, saw revenue soar 41 percent from a year earlier. In emerging markets, sales jumped 26 percent in Brazil, Russia, India, and China combined.

Software revenue rose 5.8 percent to $5.31 billion and gross profit margin gained to 44.1 percent from 43.6 percent a year earlier.

IBM lifted its full-year operating-profit estimate to $13.15 a share from at least $13 a share previously, thanks to strong demand for software and hardware.

A week after the earnings report, IBM announced a 15 percent increase in its dividend and an $8 billion addition to its stock-repurchase plan, lifting the total authorized by the board to $12.7 billion.

Widening margins for Big Blue

Standard & Poor’s analyst Thomas Smith has a four-star buy rating on the company’s shares.

“IBM's results should benefit from relatively strong revenue growth in emerging markets and improved profitability in more mature markets,” he writes.

“We see a gradual widening of margins, reflecting cost containment and more software in the product mix. We expect per-share results to benefit from lower effective tax rates as business shifts overseas, and from share buybacks.”

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International Business Machines (IBM), the world s largest computer-services company, has a long and illustrious history. Since its inception 100 years ago, the company has been on the forefront of every development involving computers from the mainframe to the personal...
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Monday, 09 May 2011 01:04 PM
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