Sales Surge at Ingram Micro

The computer products distributor beats the Street's fourth-quarter estimates.
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Helped by strong sales in Asia and Latin America,

Ingram Micro

(IM)

reported a fourth-quarter profit well above Wall Street expectations.

The Santa Ana, Calif.-based computer distributor reported after the bell Tuesday that it generated $7.96 billion in fourth-quarter revenue, up 7% from the year-ago period.

Net income in the fourth quarter reached $84.4 million, or 51 cents. The figure includes an $8.2 million charge for integration costs related to the company's outsourcing plan and its acquisition of

Tech Pacific

.

Excluding these charges, Ingram Micro earned 54 cents.

On that basis, analysts polled by Thomson First Call were looking for the company to earn 48 cents, on revenue of $7.87 billion.

Investors recently bid shares of Ingram Micro up 21 cents to $21 in extended trading.

The company saw its biggest growth in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, where sales were up 16% and 25% year over year, respectively. Sales in North America grew by a more moderate 4% from the prior year.

Gross margin for the quarter was 5.61%, down slightly from the year-ago period, but reflected a sequential increase of 12 basis points, according to the company.

In a statement accompanying the release, CEO Gregory Spierkel attributed Ingram's fourth-quarter profit upside to a strong December quarter and "exemplary cost containment."

"We posted the highest sales in five years, and the initiatives we have developed over the last several quarters are driving superior performance," said Spierkel.

The company projected that sales in the current quarter would range between $7.3 billion and $7.5 billion, with EPS between 32 cents and 35 cents, including a 3-cent charge for stock-option expenses.

The average analyst forecast called for $7.38 billion in sales with EPS of 36 cents.