Dell Posts Healthy Profit, Margins

Dell CEO Michael Dell's conference call comments have been added to the story, along with the firm's updated share price.

ROUND ROCK, Texas ( TheStreet) -- Dell ( DELL) blew past Wall Street's profit estimate with its fourth-quarter results, released after market close on Tuesday, although revenue came in just shy of analysts' forecast .

The No. 2 PC maker brought in revenue of $15.7 billion and earnings of 53 cents a share, up from $14.9 billion and 28 cents a share in the same period last year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for Dell to post sales of $15.72 billion and earnings of 37 cents a share.
Dell

Dell's enterprise business grew 7% to reach $4.6 billion during the fourth quarter, although the company's consumer sales fell 8% to $3.3 billion. In comparison, the tech giant noted that last year its consumer business saw a huge uptick related to Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows 7 launch.

The company's fourth-quarter gross margin came in at a rosy 21%.

Dell is now emerging from a tough period in its history, marked by the global economic slowdown and a major overhaul designed to improve its customer relations.

"We're pleased with the sustainable operational improvements we've made across the company, including in our consumer business," said Dell CEO Michael Dell, in a statement released after market open. "Customers are now seeing Dell in a fresh light, and we're heading into the new year with strength and optimism."

The tech giant said that it expects revenue growth between 5% and 9% in fiscal year 2012.

Speaking during a conference call to discuss the results, Dell CFO Brian Gladden also reiterated the company's commitment to its public status. "Let me say, again, we have no intentions to take the company private," he said, referring to last year's rumor that Dell was a take-private target.

Michael Dell was also quizzed by an analyst about the company's acquisition strategy during the call, and suggested that large mega-deals are unlikely. "I think it will be similar to what you have seen us close in recent history, where we are looking at smaller-sized, ingredient acquisitions," he said.

Dell, which lost out to HP ( HPQ) in the battle to acquire 3PARlast year, is spending $960 million on storage specialist Compellent ( CML) and has also opened its wallet for both medical archiver InSite One and security specialist SecureWorks.

Investors responded positively to Dell's numbers, pushing the company's shares up 74 cents, or 5.32%, to $14.65 in extended trading on Tuesday on volume of just over 10 million.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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