updated 08:45 pm EST, Tue January 22, 2013
Migration away from hardware buoys IBM stock, net worth
IBM announced its fourth-quarter 2012 diluted earnings on Tuesday. The IT services company revealed earnings of $5.13 per share, compared with diluted earnings of $4.62 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 11 percent. Fourth-quarter net income was $5.8 billion compared with $5.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of six percent. Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2012 of $29.3 billion decreased one percent from the fourth quarter of 2011.
IBM said that it expects to deliver full-year 2013 GAAP earnings per share of at least $15.53. The 2013 operating earnings exclude $1.17 per share of charges for amortization of purchased intangible assets, other acquisition-related charges, and retirement-related items.
Highlights from the report include an increase from the company's growth markets of seven percent, $7.8 billion in revenue from the software segment, and $5.5 billion from IBM products such as WebSphere, Tivoli, and Lotus. IBM posted a 51.8 percent gross margin in the fourth quarter, up from 49.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
IBM ended 2012 with $11.1 billion of cash on hand, up approximately $1.6 billion year-over-year. The company returned $15.8 billion to shareholders through $3.8 billion in dividends and $12.0 billion of share repurchases.
"We achieved record profit, earnings per share and free cash flow in 2012. Our performance in the fourth quarter and for the full year was driven by our strategic growth initiatives -- growth markets, analytics, cloud computing, Smarter Planet solutions -- which support our continued shift to higher-value businesses," said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.