Apple Reports Profit of $4.3 Billion on Record Sales

Apple iPad
Apple iPad

Tech juggernaut Apple (AAPL) handily beat earnings and revenue expectations last quarter, but supply constraints prevented the company from reaching its full potential. In other words, Apple literally cannot produce enough products to meet consumer demand.

As a result, Apple stock fell about 6% after a brief halt in after-hours trading.

Apple, the second-largest company in the S&P 500, posted revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per share, compared to revenue of $12.21 billion and net quarterly profit of $2.53 billion, or $2.77 per share, one year ago.

The company also revealed that it is sitting on $46 billion in cash. Asked about the cash hoard, CEO Steve Jobs said Apple would hold onto its money with a view toward potential future "strategic acquisitions."

Apple sold a whopping 14.1 million iPhones in the last quarter. Wall Street analysts had been expecting Apple to sell about 11.1 million iPhones. Apple also sold 4.19 million iPads. Gross margin was 36.9%, compared to 41.8% in the year-ago quarter, a change that may have contributed to the stock decline.

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International sales accounted for 57% of the quarter's revenue, the company said. Apple sold 3.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 27% increase over last year.

Jobs trumpeted his company's earnings performance.

"We are blown away to report over $20 billion in revenue and over $4 billion in after-tax earnings -- both all-time records for Apple," said Jobs. "iPhone sales of 14.1 million were up 91% year-over-year, handily beating the 12.1 million phones RIM [Research In Motion, maker of BlackBerry] sold in their most recent quarter. We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of this calendar year."

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's CFO, offered a positive outlook.

"We're thrilled with the performance and strength of our business, generating almost $5.7 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter," Oppenheimer said. "Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $23 billion, and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $4.80."

Originally published