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Chinese computer maker Lenovo said its profits grew by more than 600 per cent in the fourth quarter.

It attributed its best results since the purchase of the PC division of IBM two years ago to a strong performance in all geographic areas including North America, which chalked up 29 per cent of the firm's total revenue.

Lenovo posted a net profit of $60m, or 70 cents a share for the quarter ended 31 March compared to a $116m loss a year earlier. Consolidated revenue was up nine per cent to $3.4bn.

Just last month, the company reduced its workforce by five per cent with the hope of saving $100m for the '07-'08 fiscal year.

Lenovo also made a number of management changes and adopted a new global branding strategy to compete with the likes of rival PC makers Dell and Acer.

It is now the fourth largest PC firm in terms of worldwide shipments and in the last quarter saw a 17 per cent rise, healthier than the industry average of 11 per cent, it said.

The company also announced the surprise resignation of its key finance officer Mary Ma.

Ma was a major player in Lenovo's global expansion and played a key role in the IBM acquisition which has allowed the Beijing and Raleigh, North Carolina, based firm to extend its dominance beyond the Greater China market.

Speaking about her decision to quit, Ma said: "My retirement does not diminish my enthusiasm for and commitment to this company. I am extremely proud of our accomplishments and look forward to many more."

Although Ma is stepping down from the board she will play a non-executive, advisory role on global strategy and finance-related issues at Lenovo.

The firm's president and CEO William J Amelio said about the results: "Our recently implemented strategic measures - to implement a transaction model globally, improve our supply chain efficiency, enhance our desktop competitiveness, and build the Lenovo brand - will move us swiftly toward closing the efficiency gap between Lenovo and our competitors."

He added: "We will continue to combine cost competitiveness and efficient delivery capabilities with innovative products to drive increased market share." ®

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