Apple bounces back with £70m interim profit


Once-troubled Apple Computer has announced fourth-quarter net earnings of $106 million (£70 million), which it said capped its first profitable year since 1995.

Apple said net income in its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended on September 25th, compared with a loss of $161 million in the same period last year.

Apple has its European headquarters in Cork, where it employs 1,500 people supplying the European market and manufacturing the new iMac computer.

Earnings per share came to 68 cents, compared with a loss of $1.26 in fourth-quarter 1997 and beating market expectations by 19 cents.

Sales totalled $1.6 billion, unchanged from the 1997 quarter, while unit shipments increased 28 per cent year over year.

For the year, Apple generated revenues of $5.9 billion and net earnings of $309 million , or $2.10 a share.

In 1997, the company had revenues of $7.1 billion and a net loss of $1 billion, or $8.29 per share.

"Apple grew faster than the industry this quarter for the first time in nearly five years," said interim chairman Mr Steve Jobs.

"Apple is regaining operational excellence - exiting the quarter with only six days of inventory, surpassing Dell Computer's most recently-reported level of eight days."

The strong fourth-quarter results were largely attributable to the success of Apple's iMac - the i stands for Internet. The iMac personal computer was introduced in mid-August and is the center-piece of the company's recovery drive.

Apple said it shipped 278,000 iMacs in the product's first six weeks, making it the fastest selling Macintosh ever.

It added that more than 40 per cent of iMac buyers have been new customers for Apple, according to a survey of almost 2,000 buyers.