IBM revenues pushed up 5% by exchange rates

IBM, the world’s second largest IT company, saw revenues increase by 5% during its most recent financial quarter. The company’s overall revenues for the three months ending March 2010 were $22.9 billion and net income was $2.6 billion, up 13% from the same quarter of 2009.

The IT giant revealed that without the flattering effect of currency fluctuations, its revenues would have been flat compared to last year, news that may temper the optimism for the IT industry that followed chipmaker Intel’s most recent financial results.

However, the impact of the recession on IBM’s business kicked in some months later than for many of its peers, perhaps due to the global distribution of its business, and a more convincing recovery may be forthcoming. Indeed, the company raised its full-year earnings forecast for 2010 to $11.20 per share from an initial prediction of "at least" $11 made in January.

The UK was IBM’s strongest geographic market, showing an 8% increase year-on-year. This suggests that the recent uptick in business IT spending seen in the US is being replicated on this side of the Atlantic.

The company’s fastest growing division was its software segment, where sales grew 11% year-on-year. IBM’s Systems and Technology unit posted a 5% increase in sales to $3.4 billion, although revenues from its System z mainframe division dropped 17%.

"The improvement in revenue growth from our fourth quarter was broad-based with improvements across each of our major segments and geographies," said IBM CFO Mark Loughridge in a conference call to analysts, adding that "growth accelerated" as market conditions recovered in "most countries".

Since the start of the global recession, IBM has implemented around $3.7 billion in cost-cutting measures, including approximately 5,000 job cuts at the company,
in its bid to protect profits.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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