|By Maureen O'Gara||
|February 20, 2013 06:30 AM EST||
In what will be one of its last quarterly reports as a public company – if shareholders can be persuaded to accept the $24.4 billion deal on offer to take the PC maker private – Dell’s fiscal Q4 sales and earnings topped Wall Street estimates.
That’s the kindest way of looking of its flailing situation.
Revenues dropped 11% year-over-year to $14.3 billion against analyst diminished predictions of $14.1 billion but were up 4.3% sequentially from $13.72 billion.
Earnings were down 31% at $530 million or 40 cents a share versus estimates of 39 cents.
Desktop PCs declined 14% and mobile revenues, including laptops, plunged 25%, a victim of smartphones and tablets.
Gartner estimates that global PC shipments dropped in Q4. Dell’s dropped 21%.
Server and networking sales were up 18% in the quarter to $2.62 billion. Because of the modest strength in the company’s enterprise segment, there’s talk Michael Dell may be making some progress turning the joint into a more high-margin IBM-like IT provider.
However, software was down 11% and services off 3.1%. The government sector was down 9.4%, large enterprises declined 6.6% and SMBs were off 4.6%. The consumer sector dropped 24%.
Dell is hoping for “significant” IT spending in the next year or so because of corporations upgrading Windows.
EMEA revenue decreased 14% in the quarter, the Americas were down 10%, and Asia-Pacific and Japan declined 9%.
Gross margin was tickled to 21.7%, up from 21.1% last year.
Michael and private equity house Silver Lake Management LLC are offering $13.65 a share and have met resistance from Dell’s largest stockholders over the price. Speculators have bid the stock up over the offer price to $13.84 in expectation of a sweetener.
The company refused to discuss the potential LBO and offered no guidance for the future. As author of the overshadowing buy-out, Michael was a no- show on the conference call Tuesday.
Dell ended the quarter with $15.3 billion in the bank, a stash that will be used to consummate the LBO.
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