Apple hits record £4.2 billion Q4 profit


But quarter-on-quarter revenue growth slows and profits dip following fall in iPhone sales and only modest increase in iPad sales

Apple posted profits of £4.2 billion on revenues of £18 billion for its fourth quarter ending September 24.

Year-on-year revenues for the quarter were up 39 per cent and profits were up 54 per cent. However, compared to the previous quarter revenues were broadly flat while profits were down 9 per cent.

For the full year, Apple recorded profits of £16.5 billion on revenues of £68.4 billion.

Apple sold 17.07 million iPhones during the quarter, which ended before the release of the iPhone 4S, and also shifted 11.12 million iPads.

This was up 21 per cent for iPhones and 166 per cent for tablets compared to the same period a year ago.

However, compared to the preceding quarter the figures were weaker, with iPhone sales dropping 15 per cent from 20 million and iPad sales rising by just 20 per cent from 9.25 million in the quarter ending June 25.

The firm said that gross profit margin rose to 40.3 per cent compared to 36.9 per cent the same period a year ago. However, this was down slightly from a gross margin of 41.7 per cent in the preceding quarter.

Apple blamed the drop in iPhone sales on the later release date of the iPhone 4S compared to previous models, and expectation surrounding the release of the latest iPhone, which Apple claims has sold faster than any previous model since launching on October 14.

The firm is predicting that its next quarter, which will cover 14 weeks rather than 13 as Apple brings its quarters in line with the calendar year, will bring record sales of the iPhone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured) said: “We are thrilled with the very strong finish of an outstanding fiscal 2011, growing annual revenue to $108 billion and growing earnings to $26 billion.

“Customer response to iPhone 4S has been fantastic, we have strong momentum going into the holiday season, and we remain really enthusiastic about our product pipeline.”

Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said:“We are extremely pleased with our record September quarter revenue and earnings and with cash generation of $5.4 billion during the quarter.

“Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2012, which will span 14 weeks rather than 13, we expect revenue of about $37 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $9.30.”

Apple stock fell more than 5 per cent in after hours trading.