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Emerging markets let IBM ride out turbulence
|21 июля 2008|
IBM is on track to get nearly a third of its business from emerging markets in five years, according to a senior executive, cementing a historic shift that has already helped the US computing group to brush off economic uncertainty in the developed world.
The transition was confirmed in the company’s latest earnings last week, which brought a further spurt to a rally that has made Big Blue one of the best-performing large stocks this year. Its shares have risen 18 per cent, compared with a 13 per cent fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which it is a part.
It also reflects a wider shift towards the emerging world that has helped other tech industry leaders weather the economic downturn better than companies in many other sectors. Booming sales in the emerging world of PCs, still the main engine of demand for much of the tech industry, has been one of the main supports for both Microsoft and Intel during the past two years.
Executives at IBM put their company’s historic rebalancing around the emerging world down to big IT infrastructure projects in industries such as financial services and telecommunications, as emerging countries build the foundations for future growth. Mark Loughridge, chief financial officer, called this business “high margin, very profitable, that we think has a lot of sustainability”.
Thanks to growth of 21 per cent, IBM generated 18 per cent of its revenues in emerging countries in the most recent quarter.
“I think these growth rates are going to continue,” Mr Loughridge said in an interview with the Financial Times. That should lift the share of IBM’s business from these countries to more than 30 per cent five years from now, according to IBM.
Though the result of long-term investments that have taken years to pay off, the shift also reflects a tactical bet by IBM to ramp up spending in these countries in the short term. IBM boosted its overhead spending in emerging countries by 12 per cent in the most recent quarter while cutting the same selling, general and administrative costs in the developed world by 1 per cent, Mr Loughridge said.
Some tech companies have warned that sales in emerging markets can be more uncertain, potentially exposing their overall performance to much greater volatility as this becomes a bigger part of their business. These markets “tend to be more lumpy”, John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco, warned at the time of his company’s latest earnings.
But Mr Loughridge said the experience of the last year and half suggested that demand was more consistent than in the developed world. “If you ask what’s the biggest risk in these markets, it’s missing it,” he added.
Источник: Financial Times