Apple fourth-quarter profit up 62% on record sales

Cupertino-based company’s net profit in September quarter surged to $20.6bn

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 file photo, the logo of Apple is illuminated at a store in the city center of Munich, Germany. Apple is stepping up privacy for app users, forcing developers to be more transparent about data collection and warning they could be removed if they don't comply with a new anti-tracking measure, a company executive and regulators said Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)
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Apple reported a 62.2 per cent annual jump in its fiscal year fourth-quarter net profit as the company earned record revenue in the September quarter. However, the company's sales fell short of Wall Street expectations.

The Cupertino-based company’s net profit in the period that ended on September 25 surged to almost $20.6 billion. This is about $1.2bn less than the quarter that ended on June 26.

Revenue rose 29 per cent year-on-year to $83.4bn during the quarter, missing analyst estimates of $84.8bn.

Last week, Apple launched its latest MacBook Pro laptops powered by the company’s in-house M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, and new AirPods as the US tech company looks to diversify its product range and attract more professional users.

The company also unveiled the iPhone 13 series, Apple Watch 7 and new iPads last month.

“We are infusing our values into everything we make … moving closer to our 2030 goal of being carbon neutral up and down our supply chain and across the life cycle of our products and ever advancing our mission to build a more equitable future,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said.

The company’s full financial year’s net profit increased 65 per cent to $94.7bn. Its 12-month sales stood at more than $365.8bn, up more than 33 per cent on a yearly basis.

Apple's sales across all product categories reported double-digit growth.

iPhone sales account for about 47 per cent of the company's total revenue. Smartphone sales surged almost 47 per cent to $38.9bn in the quarter from the prior year period, missing the analysts' estimates of $41.5bn.

The company’s total revenue from services grew about 25.6 per cent annually to $18.3bn, while revenue from wearables, home and accessories products increased almost 11.5 per cent yearly to more than $8.8bn.

Revenue from iPads and computers jumped more than 10 per cent to more than $17.4bn.

Apple’s sales in the Americas accounted for about 44.2 per cent of the company's total fourth-quarter revenue and it earned $36.8bn in the region.

It was followed by Europe and the Greater China market (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), which added $20.7bn and $14.5bn, respectively, to the company’s revenue.

Despite US-China trade issues, Apple managed to gain significant new ground in the Greater China market, which reported an annual increase of more than 83.2 per cent.

Japan and rest of the Asia Pacific market added $11.2bn to Apple’s third-quarter sales, an annual increase of 22.1 per cent.

During the September quarter, Apple returned more than $24bn to its shareholders, as the company looks to reach a net cash neutral position over time.

The company’s record September quarter results “capped off a remarkable fiscal year of strong double-digit growth, during which we set new revenue records in all of our geographic segments and product categories in spite of continued uncertainty in the macro environment", chief financial officer Luca Maestri said.

In the July-September period, Apple spent more than $5.7bn on research and development, about 7 per cent of its total revenue. It was up almost 16 per cent compared to the same period the year prior.

Apple did not issue official guidance about future revenue and profits. The company stopped offering guidance at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic due to uncertainty in business.

The company’s cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities stood at $62.6bn as of September 25.

Updated: October 30, 2021, 1:17 AM