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Compaq posts big gain

The world's largest PC maker says its quarterly net income increased 43 percent, to $350 million.

Compaq Computer (CPQ) reported today that its net income increased 43 percent, to $350 million, for the quarter that ended September 30.

The computer hardware maker's worldwide sales grew 25 percent, to $4.5 billion, compared with $3.6 billion in the same period a year ago. Compaq also said its inventories in the third quarter fell by $855 million, to $1.4 billion, as part of its continuing focus on asset management.

Compaq, the world's largest personal computer maker, said its inventory turns--a measure of the number of times it sold and replaced a product--increased to 9.0 in the third quarter, up from 5.1 a year earlier. Compaq said these operational improvements lifted its cash balance by 185 percent, compared to 1995 levels, to $3.2 billion.

The company today reported third quarter earnings of $1.25 a share, up from 89 cents a year ago.