Business Machines (IBM) Corp posted better-than-expected third-quarter revenue on Tuesday, helped by growth in the company's cloud
Under Chief Executive Ginni Rometty, the technology services company has shifted towards more profitable areas, such as cloud
services, artificial intelligence, analytics, and security while trimming its traditional hardware and services businesses.
Revenue from those areas, which the company calls "strategic imperatives", rose 16 per cent to $8 billion in the third quarter. Cloud
revenue jumped 44 per cent compared with a 30 per cent rise in the second quarter, it said.
However, shares of IBM, which reported its 18th straight quarter of declining revenue, were down 3.1 per cent at $150.60 in after-market trading.
has made a string of acquisitions focused on elements of its strategic imperatives business, including The Weather Company and Truven Health, spending $5.45 billion so far this year. In comparison, the company spent $821 million on acquisitions in the same period last year.
IBM's operating gross margin fell 2.1 percentage points to 48 per cent in the quarter, as a result of higher investments in the company's cloud
business and the shift to a subscription-based as-a-service model.
"We're building cloud
data centres which don't come online at 90 per cent utilisation, you build utilisation as you ramp," said IBM
Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter in an interview with Reuters.
Schroeter added that IBM
would continue its pace of investments due to demand for the company's as-a-service offerings.
"Gross margins declined 210 basis points and that was due to - probably - product mix and a higher level of overall investment for some new higher-margin products," said David Holt, an analyst at CFRA Research.
The Armonk, a New York-based company, maintained its full-year adjusted earnings forecast of at least $13.50 per share.
The company's revenue marginally fell to $19.23 billion in the quarter ended September 30 from $19.28 billion a year earlier, but beat the average analyst estimate of $19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net income fell to $2.85 billion, or $2.98 per share, from $2.95 billion, or $3.01 per share.
Excluding items, IBM
earned $3.29 per share, beating analysts' average estimate of $3.23 per share.
Up to Monday's close, the Dow Jones industrials component's shares had risen nearly 12.5 per cent so far this year, outperforming the 3.8 per cent gain in the broader index.