Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

IBM Earnings: Rising Demand for AI, Cloud

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Different chatter coming in from different sources on IBM’s 4Q18 earnings.

One of my favorite email newsletters that I actually try to read most days, the “Morning Download,” from The Wall Street Journal, had this to say:

Good day, CIOs. International Business Machine Corp.’s  fourth-quarter financial results reflect the continuing rise of artificial intelligence and cloud computing as central to corporate technology investment.

The big financial picture. Overall, revenue fell 3.5%, a second consecutive quarterly drop that underscores significant challenges the technology giant faces in recapturing growth, the Journal’s Jay Greene reports. Even so, IBM said it expects adjusted per-share earnings to hit $13.90 in the current fiscal year, compared with $13.81 for 2018. Shares rose more than 6 percent in after hours trading.

Where’s the growth? It’s in the company’s four so-called strategic imperatives. Those businesses—cloud computing and data analytics, among others—grew 5% in the quarter to $11.5 billion, the Journal reports. The cloud business grew 12 percent to $19.2 billion in 2018, according to Reuters. Last fall, IBM announced it would buy Red Hat Inc. to boost its efforts in the cloud. It recently struck new cloud deals with Vodafone Group PLC’s business services division and French bank BNP Paribas.

Cognitive leap. “The company’s cognitive software business, which houses artificial intelligence platform Watson, analytics and cybersecurity services, reported sales of $5.46 billion, compared with analysts’ expectation of $5.25 billion,” Reuters reports.

There was this from CNBC

Earnings: $4.87 per share, excluding certain items, vs. $4.82 per share as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
Revenue: $21.76 billion, vs. $21.71 billion as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.

IBM’s largest business segment, Technology Services and Cloud Platforms, posted $8.9 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting $9.04 billion in revenue from the segment.

The next-largest business segment, Cognitive Solutions, did $5.5 billion in revenue. That exceeded the FactSet consensus estimate, which was $5.27 billion.

IBM’s Global Business Services segment collected $4.3 billion in revenue, exceeding the $4.15 billion estimate, and the Systems segment came in at $2.6 billion, below the $2.77 billion estimate. The Global Financing segment contributed $402 million in revenue, under the $426 million estimate.

In the quarter IBM announced its intent to pay $34 billion to acquire Red Hat, announced a chip manufacturing deal from Samsung and sold software assets to HCL Technologies for $1.8 billion. The Red Hat deal is expected to close in the second half of 2019.

And this from The Street: 

IBM Corp. (IBM – Get Report) shares were indicated sharply higher in pre-market trading Wednesday after the iconic tech firm posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and said its recent acquisition of Red Hat Inc. (RHT – Get Report) would help boost cloud computing sales in 2019.

 IBM said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December came in at $4.87 per share, down 5% from the same period last year but ahead of the Street consensus of $4.82 per share. Group sales were also softer than the prior period, falling 1% to $21.76 billion, but the figure topped estimates and IBM said it sees free cash flow for 2019 of around $12 billion, largely in-line with its tally over the past year.

Cloud computing sales, too, were impressing, rising 12% to $19.2 billion over the whole of 2018, helping build an overall backlog of orders across its businesses to around $116 billion as of the end of last year. Looking ahead, IBM sees 2019 operating earnings of $13.90 per share, but said that figure won’t include the impact of its $34 billion takeover of software group Red Hat last October.

“We see the strong bookings Red Hat recently reported as further evidence of clients’ confidence in the value,” IBM CFO Jim Kavanaugh told investors on a conference call late Tuesday. “Remember, the quarter ended a month after the transaction was announced. From a value perspective, in addition to the growing Red Hat business itself, we see an opportunity to lift all of IBM by selling more of our own IBM Cloud and by selling more of our analytics and AI capabilities on OpenShift across multiple platforms.”

Written by turbotodd

January 23, 2019 at 10:06 am

Posted in 2019, earnings, ibm

Tagged with , ,

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