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Feb 27, 2020

Dell reports in-line sales on steady personal computer demand

Dell’s Burd Seeing a Lot of Interest in PCs and Technology

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Dell Technologies Inc.’s shares slipped after the computer giant reported weaker demand for data-center hardware amid ongoing global economic concerns.

Total revenue increased 1% to US$24 billion in the period that ended Jan. 31, the Round Rock, Texas-based company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts, on average, estimated US$23.9 billion. Profit, excluding some items, was US$2 a share, matching estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales in the company’s infrastructure solutions unit, which provides equipment to data centers, declined 11% to US$8.8 billion. Storage hardware sales decreased 3% and servers and networking gear dropped 19%, highlighting a slower spending environment among large corporate clients. The stock dropped about 3% in extended trading.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Dell has sought to leverage the different parts of his empire to sell clients higher-value packages of hardware and software. Macroeconomic issues, including trade conflicts, have caused Dell’s clients to slow purchases of data-center hardware, particularly in China. The company will disclose a forecast for the current period during a conference call with analysts, who are keen to learn how the coronavirus outbreak may affect future results. Microsoft Corp. cut its forecast Wednesday because of the spread of the virus, known as Covid-19 and HP Inc. said its profit in the current period would suffer because of related supply-chain disruptions.

Dell said it repaid about US$1.5 billion of gross debt in the quarter and US$5 billion for the year. The company said it has paid down US$19.5 billion in gross debt since closing its acquisition of EMC Corp. in September 2016. Dell also announced a US$1 billion share buyback program over two years.

Shares fell to a low of US$40.40 after closing at US$43.56 in New York. The stock has declined 23% in the past 12 months.

Dell said its personal computer division gained 8% to US$11.8 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter. Commercial sales rose 10% due to corporate clients upgrading their computers to adopt Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system. Revenue from consumers climbed 4% in the period.