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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), the world’s most valuable company, reported its latest round of earnings after Thursday’s closing bell. The results on the bottom line disappointed, but the tech giant is still a huge cash machine.
For its fiscal 2012 fourth quarter, Apple posted a net profit of $8.2 billion ($8.67 per diluted share), compared to $6.6 billion ($7.05 per diluted share) a year earlier. Meanwhile, revenue increased 27 percent to $35.97 billion, from $28.27 billion in the same period last year. Analysts had expected Apple to earn $8.75 per share on $35.8 billion in revenue.
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Gross margins held steady at 40 percent, which was 150 basis points higher than Apple’s guidance, but total operating expenses increased 29 percent to $3.46 billion, compared to $2.67 billion a year earlier. The higher expenses reflect the costs that come along with Apple’s product line refresh, including the iPhone 5, iPad Mini, iMac, MacBook Pro 13-inch, iPod Touch and iPod Nano. However, the company is still adding greenbacks to its massive cash hoard.
Taking the total of Apple’s cash and cash equivalents, short-term marketable securities and long-term marketable securities, the company’s cash position grew to $121.25 billion, another new record. In comparison, Apple held a total cash position of $81.57 billion a year earlier. As the chart below from Zero Hedge shows, Apple increasing its cash position is business as usual, even if it is the smallest sequential change in 30 months.
Apple’s total cash position, of which $83 billion was held offshore at the end of the September quarter, is bigger than the entire market capitalization of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Pandora (NYSE:P) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) combined. In fiscal year 2012, Apple generated more than $156 billion in revenue. Over 200 million iOS devices were sold, including 125 million iPhones.
Apple explains in the most recent quarterly numbers in a press release, “The Company sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 58 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 14.0 million iPads during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.9 million Macs during the quarter, a 1 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 5.3 million iPods, a 19 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.”
Looking ahead, Apple expects first fiscal quarter of 2013 revenue to come in around $52 billion and diluted earnings per share of about $11.75, although Apple has a history of low-balling estimates. The board of directors has also declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share. The dividend is payable on November 15, 2012 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on November 12, 2012.
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