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Lenovo Posts Top Quarterly Results Since Buying IBM
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Lenovo Group Ltd, China's top personal computer (PC) maker, has posted its best quarterly results since purchasing IBM's PC arm in 2005.

The world's third-largest PC manufacturer earned US$57.7 million in the three months ending on December 31, up 23.2 percent from US$46.8 million the same period a year earlier.

The result narrowly beats market forecasts, which estimated the group would have US$56 million in net income during the period.

During the third fiscal quarter, the company recorded higher revenues of US$4 billion compared to the same period the year previous. Its profits for the nine months ending on December 31, however, dropped by 27 percent from US$138 million in 2005 to US$100 million last year.

Lenovo, one of a handful of Chinese companies trying to craft a global brand, earned a pre-tax income of US$64 million. Its worldwide PC shipments grew about 8 percent, ahead of the industry average of 7 percent, the company said yesterday.

The PC giant has been aggressively seeking ways to curb expenditure, including cutting staff and combining sales teams, but investors will watch to see how the group overhauls itself in 2007 as overseas peers add spice to the competition.

Lenovo held its position as the top PC maker in Asia-Pacific, excluding Japan, with a 21.6 percent share in the fourth quarter last year, according to the IT market consulting firm IDC. For 2006, the company had 19.9 percent of the market, followed by Hewlet-Packard with 12.6 percent and Dell with 8.8 percent.

"Continued high growth in our China business enabled Lenovo to hold global market share," said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo's chairman. "All of our geographic regions except the Americas reported profitability this quarter in a very competitive market."

The US group lagged behind its two global rivals with a 7.3 percent market share, compared with Hewlet-Packard's more than 18 percent and Dell's 14.7 percent.

"Hewlet-Packard is by far the largest PC maker in terms of market volume," IDC said in a report. "Microsoft's new Vista operating system fuels the already fierce competition, so we will hold a watch-and-see attitude with all the ambitious PC makers."

William Amelio, Lenovo's president and chief executive officer, said in March last year Lenovo would cut about 1,000 jobs and move offices at a cost of US$100 million after completing the US$1.25 billion acquisition of IBM's PC business in May 2005.

"Transformation takes time, but we are confident that we have the right plan in place to achieve our goals and deliver enhanced shareholder returns," said Yang in a statement.

(China Daily February 2, 2007)

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