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Dell has announced that it expects to meets its forecast for the first quarter 2005 with revenues of $13.4bn, up 16 per cent from a year ago.

The PC manufacturer also reiterated its aim to grow the business over the next three to four years. Dell said that it is expects earnings per share and cash flow from operations to continue to outgrow sales, as it works to meet its $80bn per year revenue goal.

In early February, Dell said that it expected first quarter revenues of $13.4bn and earnings per share of $0.37, up 32 per cent from a year earlier. This followed on from a tough fourth quarter in which the PC giant saw income slip 11 per cent to $667m, or $0.26 a share, which was blamed on a $280m charge for taxes related to the United States' American Jobs Creation Act. However, fourth quarter revenue jumped 17 per cent to $13.46bn.

In addition to meeting its target for the first quarter, the company has announced that it intends to spend $2bn to repurchase stock during the current quarter, more than double Dell's original expectation. Over the past four years, stock buyback has reduced weighted average shares outstanding by more than 9 per cent.

Dell, which is the world's biggest PC manufacturer, hit revenues of $49bn during its last fiscal year, which ended in January. It is expected to reach the $60bn mark during this fiscal year and the company remains optimistic that it can top $80bn within four years.

Although the firm is famed for its desktop computers, Dell believes that the bulk of future revenues are going to come from increased sales of network servers, storage systems, printing and imaging goods, mobile computing products and enhanced services.

In those product and service areas, as well as regions outside the United States, Dell expects to continue to grow at rates even faster than its already-strong overall average.

Dell's CEO, Kevin Rollins, said in a statement: "Our growth and profitability are based on a disciplined approach to defining new product and service categories, accelerating growth in existing businesses, and extending the value we create for customers in all of those areas."

© ENN

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