Dell profit dips in Q4 as revenue rises

Net income fell 5 percent, but strong laptop and server sales boosted revenue

Dell on Thursday reported a drop in profits during the fourth quarter of the company's 2010 fiscal year, but growth in revenue, fueled by strong sales of laptops and servers to the consumer and enterprise markets.

The company reported net income of US$334 million for the fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 29, a drop of 5 percent compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. The company reported earnings per share of $0.17, falling short of the $0.27 forecast by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The company's revenue increased to $14.9 billion, compared to $13.4 billion in the previous year's fourth fiscal quarter. Revenue improved in all business segments, the company said in a statement.

Revenue grown was "solid ... in every part of our business," said Brian Gladden, Dell's chief financial officer, in a statement.

The revenue increase was partly driven by strength in commercial business, the company said. Revenue for the large enterprise unit was $4.2 billion, up 8 percent year over year. Revenue from the small and medium-size business segment was up 10 percent to $3.3 billion, driven by sales of mobile products and servers.

Dell also saw 11 percent year-over-year growth in consumer revenue. Revenue from consumer mobility products, including laptops, was up 26 percent. Shipments for those products grew 29 percent year over year.

Dell said the demand in its commercial business was "continuing to return during the fourth quarter," and it is optimistic that the trend will continue into fiscal 2011. The company did not provide revenue projections for the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

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