American multinational company IBM has reported its earnings for the fourth quarter, surpassing the expectations of analysts. The company reported earnings of $3.35 per share, adjusted, surpassing the estimate of $3.30 per share forecasted by analysts according to Refinitiv. The company’s revenue also surpassed analysts’ expectations of $15.96 billion. For the quarter, IBM recorded revenue of $16.70 billion.
The company’s shares soared as much as 7 percent in extended trading after it announced that revenue for the quarter went up by 6 percent, before losing most of the recorded gains. During the fourth quarter, IBM broke out its infrastructure services into a new business called Kyndryl. Kyndryl contributed significantly to the company’s earnings in the fourth quarter.
Quite recently, IBM told investors to be on the lookout for mid-single-digit revenue growth. On a call with analysts, the company’s CEO Arvind Krishna resounded the mid-single-digit growth goal adding that IBM expects between $10 billion and $10.5 billion in free cash flow for 2022. The company’s financial chief Jim Kavanaugh also mentioned that it will take a few quarters for the company’s profit to reflect higher labour costs.
The CEO mentioned that the tech industry is suffering from a lack of appropriate talents and that the pandemic is in no way connected to this short supply. Specifically, he said “I’ll use the word demographics on the skill shortage that is endemic in technology now. And that is sort of playing in. By the way, I don’t believe that the skill shortage is because of COVID. I do believe COVID may have exacerbated or created a pull-in of those demographics, but those I think are going to last us for the decade”.
For the fourth quarter, net income rose 72 percent from the previous year to $2.33 billion. The gross margin stood at 56.9 percent from 58.9 percent. The company also showed its fastest revenue growth since the third quarter of 2011.
IBM’s software business, formerly known as Cloud and Cognitive Software recorded revenue of $7.27 billion, up 8 percent from the previous year. It also surpassed the estimates of $6.72 billion, according to StreetAccount.
The company’s consulting unit previously known as Global Business Service soared 13 percent from the previous year to $4.75 billion and also surpassed analysts’ estimate of $4.20 billion, according to StreetAccount. IBM’s infrastructure business which envelopes hardware, was down 0.03 percent to $4.42 billion, failing to reach the consensus of $4.43 billion, according to StreetAccount.
As of the close on Monday, IBM shares were down 4% since the start of the year, while the S&P 500 was down 8%. “M&A has to have an economic benefit for our company and our shareholders. As valuations come down, clearly some targets may become more approachable that were not previously approachable. And as I said before, look, we have a little over $20 billion of flexibility over the next three years. So I’d just leave it at that. That’s our total flexibility. As prices come down, certainly more things come within range”.
In the fourth quarter, apart from completing its Kyndyl transaction, the company announced the acquisitions of SXiQ, an Australian cloud consulting company and a consulting unit that handles Adobe implementations.