IBM quarterly revenue, full-year forecast disappoints

Under Ginni Rometty’s stewardship, IBM has shed many of its traditional hardware businesses. (AFP pic)

BANGALORE: International Business Machines Corp reported a bigger-than-expected drop in first-quarter revenue on Tuesday, hurt by tapering demand for its latest mainframe computers and a stronger dollar.

Shares of the technology giant fell 2%. The company reiterated 2019 adjusted operating profit of “at least” US$13.90 per share. Analysts on average were expecting US$13.91 per share.

Under Ginni Rometty’s stewardship, the company has shed many of its traditional hardware businesses and beefed up the growth areas through deals such as its US$34 billion deal for Red Hat Inc, by far the company’s biggest acquisition.

IBM returned to annual revenue growth after seven years in the last quarter of 2018, triggering expectations that its strategy was taking roots.

Shares of the company have gained about 18% since reporting its fourth-quarter results in Jan.

However, in the reported quarter its cloud and cognitive segment, which includes analytics, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, fell 1.5% to US$5.04 billion, but beat
FactSet estimates of US$4.18 billion.

Revenue from its other main segments also fell and missed FactSet estimates.

“We see limited upside to revenues due to currency headwinds, tough comps from the mainframe cycle, and a potential pullforward of software revenues into Q4,” Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said.

IBM’s revenue slipped 4.7% to US$18.18 billion in the first quarter ended March 31 and missed the average analyst estimate of US$18.46 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Its net income fell US$1.59 billion, or US$1.78 per share, compared with US$1.68 billion, or US$1.81 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, the company earned US$2.25 per share and beat analysts’ expectation of US$2.22 per share.