Apple Computer exceeded Wall Street expectations for its fiscal third quarter to post its seventh consecutive quarter of profit, buoyed by strong sales of its iMac computer.
Revenues for the quarter ending 26 June, 1999, rose 11 per cent to $1.56 billion, of which international sales made up 45 per cent. Net profits doubled to $203 million or $1.20 per diluted share, including a one off $89 million tax gain related to the sale of 10 million shares in Arm Holdings. This compared with income of $101 million or $0.65 per diluted share in the year ago quarter.
Without the gain, Apple would have generated earnings of $114 million or $0.69 per share, still well above the First Call analysts' consensus estimate of $0.64 per share. The PC supplier's stock price rose $2.25 to close at $55.9375 as a result.
Steve Jobs, Apple's interim chief executive, said: "We are delighted to report our seventh consecutive profitable quarter. Apple is growing faster than the industry, driven by the continual success of iMac in our consumer and education markets."
The company now has cash balances of $3.1 billion and an ending inventory balance of less than one day, which it claims is better than Dell.
At the same time, it also announced a plan to repurchase up to $500 million of its common stock because, according to Jobs, it was "a good long term investment. We are confident in Apple's future and believe this repurchase plan will produce long term benefits for the Company and our shareholders".
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