21. Nov 2008

Dell Achieves 9-Percent Increase in Fiscal Third-Quarter EPS, Driven by Improved Competitiveness, Execution

”Our business model adapts quickly to economic changes, even the kind of significant challenge we saw in the third quarter,” said Michael Dell, chairman and CEO. ”We increased profitability with an improved mix of products and services - more than a third of our revenue and profit now comes from servers, storage, services and software and peripherals - and benefited from initiatives to improve our competiveness, including tight cost controls.”

”During previous periods of economic challenge, Dell led in providing customers the technology they want and the value they need, and we're doing it again. We're simplifying IT, reducing costs and maximizing productivity for customers.”

Mr. Dell said the company is continuing to focus on five growth areas: Notebooks, Enterprise, Global Consumer, Small and Medium Business and Emerging Countries.

Dell revenue was down 3 percent on unit-shipment growth of 3 percent. Operating income improved 22 percent to $1 billion, or 6.7 percent of revenue, driven by gross margins of 18.8 percent, which benefited from an improved mix of products and services, lower component costs, and continued progress on cost-reduction initiatives announced in April. Operating expenses were 12.1 percent of revenue, an 11-percent decline on a dollar basis from a year ago. The company ended the quarter with 2,200 fewer positions than in Q2, and down 9 percent from one year ago.

”The velocity of Dell's business model typically gives us an early view to demand signals, ahead of competitors,” said Brian Gladden, Dell CFO. ”This visibility gives us a strategic advantage to quickly adapt our cost structure and approach.”

Global industry demand in the quarter slowed through October, adversely affecting the company's cash conversion cycle, which ended at negative 25 days, and resulted in negative cash flow from operations of $86 million. As company growth stabilizes, more typical cash generation is expected to resume. Year to date, cash flow from operations was $1.2 billion and the company ended the quarter with $8.9 billion in cash and investments. In the quarter, Dell spent $400 million to buy back 21 million shares.

Revenue for the quarter from outside the U.S. was 48 percent of Dell's total revenue. For the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, revenue increased 20 percent and shipments 43 percent. They accounted for 9 percent of Dell's global revenue.

Global Commercial

Dell's commercial business serves large corporations; public customers comprised of government, education and health care; and Small and Medium Business (SMB).

”We took a measured approach in the third quarter to balancing growth and profitability. By the end of the second quarter, we had seen a slowdown in demand in most customer segments and concentrated our efforts where there was both profit and growth opportunity as we also improved our mix of products and services,” Mr. Gladden said. ”As a result, global commercial operating income increased to more than 8 percent of revenue as revenue declined 6 percent.”

Laptop units were flat as the company transitioned to the new Latitude Series E and Dell Precision laptop product lines, ranging from the lightest ultra-portable in the company's history to the most powerful mobile workstation. Server units declined 4 percent and growth in storage revenue was flat. Enhanced services revenue, which is largely driven by Dell's commercial business, was up 7 percent to $1.4 billion.

Dell's portfolio of scalable enterprise products is the strongest in its history, having over the past year expanded both its server and storage products.

The company also introduced four new models of OptiPlex commercial desktop systems. These systems cut power consumption by up to 43 percent, speed serviceability time by more than 40 percent versus Dell's competition and include a portfolio of cloud services that can be toggled on and off as needed.

Reflecting the overall spending slowdown, Americas Commercial had an 8-percent decline in revenue, on a 14 percent decline in units while operating income improved both sequentially and year over year.

Dell's EMEA commercial business had a 5-percent decline in revenue while shipments were essentially the same as a year ago. Actions taken to improve profitability in EMEA resulted in a 62 percent increase in operating income dollars sequentially. This improvement was driven primarily by lower operating expenses and an improved mix of products and services.

In APJ, Dell's commercial business had a 2 percent increase in revenue on a 15 percent increase in shipments and operating income grew by over 60 percent. APJ had success with the launch of Dell's Vostro A Series laptop and desktop systems, specifically designed for businesses, governments and institutions operating on limited budgets in emerging countries.

Global Consumer

Dell's Global Consumer business increased revenue 10 percent over last year on a 32-percent increase in unit shipments - led by continued success in the global retail channel and a more diversified product portfolio. Dell's growth was more than two times the rate of the industry.

Operating income was $112 million or 4 percent of revenue, compared with a loss a year ago. It is the highest level of profitability for this business in 13 quarters. Year to date, operating income margins were 1.7 percent of revenue. The improvement in profitability year-over-year was driven by a 24-percent reduction in operating-expense dollars along with lower product and component costs.

Dell consumer products won 41 awards in the third quarter, led by the selection of the new Inspiron Mini 9 as one of Time Magazine's ”Best Inventions of 2008” and CNET's ”10 Most Cutting Edge Products of 2008.” The Studio Hybrid earned a ”Hot Hardware Recommended Award” and the Studio Desktop a CNET ”Editor's Choice” award.

Company Outlook

Dell believes that global IT end-user demand will continue to be challenging. Against this backdrop the company will continue to focus on improving competitiveness, lowering costs and improving its mix of products and services to optimize liquidity, profitability and growth. The company will continue to incur costs as it realigns its business to improve competitiveness, reduce headcount in certain areas and invest in infrastructure, growth opportunities and acquisitions.

About Dell

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they need and value. Uniquely enabled by its direct business model, Dell is a leading global systems and services company and No. 34 on the Fortune 500. For more information, visit www.dell.com, or to communicate directly with Dell via a variety of online channels, go to www.dell.com/dellshares. To get Dell news direct, visit www.dell.com/RSS.

Special Note:

Statements in this press release that relate to future results and events (including statements about our future financial and operating performance) are forward-looking statements based on Dell's current expectations. Actual results and events in future periods could differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements because of a number of risks and uncertainties, including: general economic, business and industry conditions; our ability to re-establish a cost advantage over our competitors; our ability to generate substantial non-U.S. net revenue; our ability to accurately predict product, customer and geographic sales mix and seasonal sales trends; information technology and manufacturing infrastructure failures; our ability to effectively manage periodic product transitions; disruptions in component or product availability; our reliance on third-party suppliers for quality product components, including reliance on several single-source or limited-source suppliers; our ability to access the capital markets; unfavorable results of legal proceedings; our ability to properly manage the distribution of our products and services; the success of our cost-cutting measures; our ability to effectively hedge our exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates and interest rates; counterparty default risks; our ability to obtain licenses to intellectual property developed by others on commercially reasonable and competitive terms; our ability to attract, retain and motivate key personnel; loss of government contracts; expiration of tax holidays or favorable tax rate structures; changing environmental laws; and the effect of armed hostilities, terrorism, natural disasters and public health issues. For a discussion of those and other factors affecting our business and prospects, see Dell's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements.

For further information:

Dell GmbH
Michael Rufer
Public Relations Manager
Dell Central Europe
Fax +49-69-34824-3271

Sabine Kastl
Account Manager
Tel. +49-89-59997-757
Fax +49-89-59997-999