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Unisys beats estimates, sees revenues growth

The computer services firm reports fourth-quarter net income of $144.4 million, or 46 cents a share, a penny ahead of analysts' projections.

Lawrence Weinbach Unisys today reported fourth-quarter earnings a penny ahead of analysts' estimates and projected a lift in future revenues growth.

Net income for the quarter was $144.4 million, or 46 cents a share, compared to net income of $135.7 million, or 40 cents, in the same period a year ago, the Blue Bell, Pa.-based computer services firm said in a statement.

Analysts polled by First Call projected the company to earn 45 cents a share.

For the quarter, revenues declined 4.8 percent to $1.96 billion from $2.06 billion in the year-ago period. In October, the company projected slower sales growth for the next two quarters, citing delays in government contracts, price cuts by rivals and Year 2000 concerns, which the company had said would cut fourth-quarter computer systems sales as much as 20 percent.

However, the company said it plans to increase revenues growth between 8 and 10 percent in 2000 with revenues remaining relatively flat in the first quarter and building to double-digit growth in the second half of the year.

"We expect services revenues in the first quarter to increase to mid single-digit growth and technology revenues to be below the first quarter of 1999 when we had a very strong technology quarter," Unisys CEO Lawrence Weinbach said in a statement. "We remain focused on our goal to grow earnings per share at twice the rate of revenues growth in 2000."

For fiscal year 1999, Unisys posted net income of $510.7 million compared to $376.4 million in 1998. The company said its diluted earnings per share in 1999 was $1.59, a 57 percent jump from 1998's earnings per share of $1.01. Analysts surveyed by First Call expected the company's fiscal 1999 earnings to come in at $1.54.

Revenues for the company's fiscal year 1999 grew 4.2 percent to $7.54 billion from $7.24 billion in 1998, Unisys said.

Unisys said total worldwide orders were essentially flat in the quarter. U.S. orders declined and international orders showed strong growth, led by gains in Europe and growth in Asia-Pacific, the company said.

"As we enter the new year, I am very optimistic about our opportunities in the marketplace," said Weinbach. "Our focus now is on executing our e-business strategy."

The company late last year launched its e-business initiative, called e-@ction. As a major part of its strategy, Unisys said it is establishing more than 50 Unisys e-@ction electronic business centers to develop new products, technology and services for its clients. Unisys joined competitors EDS, CSC and Andersen Consulting, who also spent most of last year touting revamped missions, shifting their focus to the Internet and e-business.