Apple 3Q Earnings Surge to $61 Million

Apple Computer posted quarterly net income in the third-quarter that was more than triple the same period a year ago, the company announced Wednesday. The highest third-quarter revenue in eight years, Apple said improved Mac computer sales of 19% and robust iPod portable music player sales up 162% were catalysts for the rosy earnings report of US$61 million.

It was an outstanding quarter," said Appleis chief executive Steve Jobs.

For the three months ended June 26, Apple said it earned $61 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with $19 million, or 5 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenues increased 30 percent from a year ago to $2.01 billion. Excluding 2 cents a share in restructuring charges totaling $6 million, Apple said it had a profit of $67 million, or 17 cents a share.

Excluding an after-tax restructuring charge of $6 million, the companyis net profit would have been $67 million, or 17 cents per share.

Wall Street analysts were expecting Apple to earn 15 cents per share on sales of $1.94 billion, according to a survey by Thomson First Call.

Apple continues to build on the success of its iPod digital-music player and its lead in the online music arena with its iTunes music store. Apple sold 860,000 iPods in the quarter, accounting for $249 million in revenue, up from 304,000 iPods sold in the year-ago quarter.

The demand for the mini version of the popular player has been "staggering" in the U.S. and continues to far outstrip supply even though the productis hard-disk provider has ramped up production, Appleis worldwide vice president of sales Timothy Cook told analysts during a conference call, Wednesday. "Unprecedented" orders for European shipments, set to begin July 24, also will mean continued backlogs probably through the end of the year, said Mr. Cook. He refused to estimate when supply will catch up with demand.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts that its iTunes online music store made a small profit in the quarter, but would not offer specifics.

The company said it sold 876,000 Macintosh computers in the period, accounting for $1.26 billion, an increase from 771,000 a year ago. The Mac sales numbers account for 58% of the quarteris revenue growth. The latest numbers bring the productis lifetime total sales to 3.7 million units.

Breaking down Macintosh sales figures, Apple sold 243,000 iMac and eMac units at a revenue of $235 million. Apple sold 240,000 iBook laptops for revenue of $261 million. Power Mac desktop computers sold 173,000 for $332 million in revenue and 220,000 professional PowerBooks were sold for a total revenue of $435 million.

Apple saw an 8% drop in peripherals and other hardware sales sequentially, adding $219 million to Appleis bottom line. Software and other sales generated $210 million in revenue for Apple this quarter, up 12% from the previous quarter and up 31% year-over-year.

Revenue and unit sales were up across the board in all geographic segments from the previous year. In Europe, revenue was up 37% and unit sold was up 33%. In the Americas, revenue was up 23% from the third-quarter of 2003 and unit sales up 4%.

Japan was up fractionally at 2% in revenue from last yearis 3Q, but down 4% in unit sales. "Frankly, Japan is our weakest-performing (geographic area)," Mr. Cook admitted. He said the company is continuing to make changes to try to attract new customers. Last quarter, Mr. Cook echoed those same comments regarding Japan and said he would be concentrating much of his time to improve business conditions for Apple in the country.

Mr. Oppenheimer revealed during the conference call that the new iMac that will begin shipping in September will be powered by the PowerPC G5 processor. Mr. Oppenheimer said an IBM chip shortage was behind the delay of the new consumer Apple desktop not being released sooner. On July 2, Apple announced it would no longer taking orders for the current iMac and that a new model will be introduced in September.

Mr. Oppenheimer indicated that Apple saw $3.2 million in average quarterly revenue per each of its retail stores, up from $2.6 million per store year-over-year. Apple said some 5.8 million people visited its retail stores during the quarter.Apple officers gave an optimistic outlook Wednesday for the current and final quarter of its fiscal year. Apple said it expects to post fourth-quarter revenues of $2.1 billion and earnings per share of 16 cents to 17 cents, including 1 cent per share in restructuring charges. That forecast is largely in line with current consensus Wall Street estimates of 17 cents a share on revenue of $2.04 billion.

For the fiscal year, the company expects to hit $8 billion in sales, a 29 percent increase from the previous year.

Shares of Apple closed Wednesday up 36 cents at $29.58 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. In after-hours trading, the shares were up 67 cents to $30.25.