Apple Computer has reported a loss of US$161 million, or $1.26 per share for its fourth fiscal quarter, compared to earnings of $25 million, or 20 cents per share, for the same quarter a year ago.
Analysts polled by First Call prior to the announcement had estimated Apple's losses at about $17 million, or 14 cents per share.
Revenues for the fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 26, were $1.6 billion, a decrease of 30% from a year ago when revenues were $2.3 billion, and a decrease of 7 percent from the company's fiscal third quarter earlier this year. Apple reported a third-quarter loss of $56 million, or 44 cents per share, on revenues of $1.7 billion.
Apple would have reported a $24 million loss, or 19 cents per share, for the fourth quarter if not for charges related to restructuring and to the purchase of Power Computing's MacOS license. The restructuring charge was $62 million, and Apple reported a $75 million write-off related to the Power Computing transaction.
For the fiscal year, Apple's net loss was $1 billion, or $8.29 per share, on revenues of $7.1 billion. That's a 28 percent decrease from fiscal year 1996 when revenues were $9.8 billion, and the net loss was $816 million, or $6.59 per share.
Apple characterised its fourth fiscal quarter as one of sweeping changes, including the resignation of its CEO, the installation of new board members and significant developments in its marketing programs and industry relationships.
On the positive side, the company reduced its recurring operating expenses to $353 million.
Apple's chief financial officer, Fred Anderson, also cited record sales due to the introduction of a new MacOS update in July, as well as improved sales in consumer, education and corporate markets in the US.
However, demand was sluggish outside the US, particularly in Japan, he said. International revenues represented 42% of the quarterly total, and gross margins were 20%, compared to 22% a year ago.
In August, Apple filed documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission indicating that its fourth-quarter results could be affected by the company's ability to attract a new CEO. Apple executives had hoped to return to the company to profitability by the end of the fiscal year and revised their predictions after reporting third quarter losses.
Also today, Apple announced the resignation of two senior vice presidents. The loss of Dave Manovich, from international sales, and James McCluney, from worldwide operations, won't cause Apple to "hit any speed bumps," said Steve Jobs, interim CEO, in a statement.
Apple stock traded at a high of 24 3/4 on the day of the announcement, closing at 22 11/16.