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Apple chalks up $123 million Q1 profit

High holiday iMac sales fuel strong growth

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Apple has posted its fifth consecutive profitable quarter, as promised by interim CEO Steve Jobs at last week's MacWorld Expo keynote. As anticipated (see Apple set to announce $1.7 billion Q1 revenue), the Mac maker recorded first quarter of fiscal 1999 revenues of $1.7 billion, up eight per cent on the same period a year ago. Profits were higher than expected, reaching $152 million -- 95c a share. For Q1 1998, Apple recorded a profit of just $47 million. However, the latest figure includes $29 million made by offloading some 2.9 million of the shares Apple holds in ARM. Take that out of the equation, and Apple made $123 million -- at 78c a share, that's rather closer to the 70c a share Wall Street was expecting the company to declare. Apple also reported that it sold 519,000 iMacs during the quarter, a significant proportion of the 800,000-odd it shipped since the consumer computer was launched on 15 August. Clearly the company's Christmas extended advertising campaign and $29.99/£29.99-a-month iMac hire purchase scheme have paid off. So too has Jobs' policy of keeping inventory to a bare minimum. The company reported the quarter saw inventory drop to $25 million, or two days' worth of kit. That's five days' fewer machines than Dell's previously industry-leading five days inventory, claimed Jobs. The iMac sales contributed heavily to a year-on-year growth in unit shipments of 49 per cent, which Apple claimed was three to four times the industry average. ®

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