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April 24, 2013

Apple Beats Expectations, but Profits Dip for First Time in Decade

Apple has posted its first drop in profits in a decade, but still beat Wall Street expectations for its second quarter of 2013.

The iPhone maker reported a net profit of $9.5 billion (or $10.09 per diluted share) on its quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion. Wall Street had predicted the firm would post revenue of $42.3 billion.

In the same quarter last year, Apple reported revenue of $39.2 billion and a net profit of $11.6 billion, or $12.30 per diluted share.

Despite a lower net profit, the company enjoyed strong iPhone and iPad sales in the quarter. Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones compared to 35.1 million in the same quarter last year. Apple also sold 19.5 million iPads compared to 11.8 million in the same 2012 period.

Apple this year sold 5.6 million iPods and slightly less than the four million Macs sold in the year-ago quarter.

“We are pleased to report record March quarter revenue thanks to continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement.  “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

During a conference call with analysts, Cook added that Apple has “introduced and ramped up production on an unprecedented number of new products.” These “amazing” products are slated for release this fall and into 2014.

Cook also pointed out that although Apple’s earnings have slowed since last year, its first half revenues still “grew about $13 billion.” That, he said, is like “adding the total first-half revenue of five Fortune 500 companies.”

Meanwhile, Apple has also given a healthy shot in the arm to its to program to return capital to shareholders.

Apple plans to use $100 billion of its stockpiled cash “under the expanded program by the end of calendar 2015,” according to a company press release.

The move represents “a $55-billion increase to the program announced last year and translates to an average rate of $30 billion per year from the time of the first dividend payment in August 2012 through December 2015.”

The board of directors also has approved a 15 percent increase in Apple’s quarterly dividend and declared a dividend of $3.05 per common share will be paid to all shareholders of record as of the close of business May 13.

“We are very fortunate to be in a position to more than double the size of the capital return program we announced last year,” Cook said in a press release.  “We believe so strongly that repurchasing our shares represents an attractive use of our capital that we have dedicated the vast majority of the increase in our capital return program to share repurchases.”

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer added that the firm continues “to generate cash in excess of our needs to operate the business, invest in our future, and maintain flexibility to take advantage of strategic opportunities.”

Apple’s shares rose 1.87 percent to close at $406.13 Tuesday evening. The stock dipped 0.54 percent in after hours trading to $403.95