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Unisys earnings beat Street forecasts

The provider of computer hardware and systems, which is transforming itself into a computer services firm, reports earnings that surpass Wall Street expectations.

    Unisys, a major provider of computer hardware and systems that is transforming itself into a computer services firm, today reported fourth-quarter earnings that surpassed Wall Street expectations.

    The company posted 1998 net income of $138.6 million compared to net income of $86.9 million before charges in the year-ago quarter. After payment of preferred dividends, Unisys earned 42 cents per common share on a diluted basis in the fourth quarter of 1998 compared to 25 cents per common share before charges in the year-ago period.

    Wall Street analysts were expecting the company to pull in 40 cents per share, according to First Call.

    Unisys's revenue grew 8 percent to $2.05 billion from $1.90 billion a year ago.

    Including a charge of $1.1 billion taken in the fourth quarter of 1997, primarily for the writeoff of goodwill, the company reported a net loss of $853.6 million, or $5.30 per share, for the full year of 1997. Revenue for the full year of 1998 grew 9 percent to $7.21 billion from $6.64 billion in 1997.

    Unisys, which is relying increasingly on its services unit to drive revenues, saw revenue grow in that division.

    "Our information services business continued its turnaround, improving its operating margin by 3.5 percentage points in the fourth quarter while generating double-digit revenue growth," said Unisys CEO Larry Weinbach.

    On a geographic basis, Unisys reported continued strong revenue growth both in the United States and internationally in the fourth quarter. The company said the strongest revenue growth was in the United States, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific regions.