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Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 16:40 GMT
Profits drop at PC giant Dell
Michael Dell
Dell has had to cut prices to keep consumer demand pumping
Computer industry bellwether Dell has reported an 11% drop in quarterly profit because of a one-off tax charge.

Net income in the three months to 28 January was $667m (357m) from $749m a year earlier. Sales were up 17% at $13.46bn - just below market targets.

Dell paid $280m in taxes during the quarter so it would now qualify for a lower tax rate on overseas profits.

Dell shares fell 4% in trading in New York on Friday, as analysts questioned future sales.

Convince us

Goldman Sachs analyst Laura Conigliaro said that the reported quarter, the fiscal fourth, was the third in a row that the market had been disappointed.

Why should we be optimistic?
Laura Conigliaro, an analyst at Goldman Sachs

Dell, the world's biggest maker of computers, had set itself a target of $60bn in annual revenues, a figure that it failed to hit during the past fiscal year.

"Why should we be optimistic about fiscal '06 or even beyond that?" Ms Conigliaro asked.

Consumer demand during the past quarter was "slower" than Dell had anticipated, while shipments rose by 19%, just below the 20% figure predicted by the company.

To keep sales up, the company cut prices, a move that also helped it win market share from rivals such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Bright side

Without the tax charge Dell would have posted record fourth quarter profit and said it is well placed to drive earnings growth.

Dell chief executive Kevin Rollins said the PC maker expects earnings to climb to 37 cents per share in the current quarter, from 26 cents a share in the three months to 28 January.

"We are high on the company and believe that the market is going to be pretty good," he said at news conference.

Dell said it expects sales to top $60bn in the 12 months ending January 2006 and set a new annual revenue target of $80bn.

The new target comes after Dell has increased its market share in the PC market, as well as expanding into the server, storage, networking, printer and consumer products markets.

During the fourth-quarter sales rose 22% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and 21 percent in Asia.

Sales to US corporate clients were 19% higher than in the same period a year earlier.

Why the results do not tell the whole story

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12 Nov 04 |  Business
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Dell gets new chairman
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New demand boosts Dell profits
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Michael Dell hands over CEO role
04 Mar 04 |  Business
Dell records strong holiday sales
12 Feb 04 |  Business

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