x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Middle East performance a bright spot for Dell sales

Dell says its Middle East business is outperforming its units in developed markets, amid a gloomier global picture in which the Texas-based computer manufacturer reported an 18 per cent drop in net profit.

Michael Collins, the general manager for Dell's emerging markets division in EMEA, says 'the Middle East is one of our faster-growing marketplaces.' Christopher Pike / The National
Michael Collins, the general manager for Dell's emerging markets division in EMEA, says 'the Middle East is one of our faster-growing marketplaces.' Christopher Pike / The National

Dell says its Middle East business is outperforming its units in developed markets, amid a gloomier global picture in which the Texas-based computer manufacturer reported an 18 per cent drop in net profit.

Shares in the company dipped late on Tuesday after it forecast sales would be down 7 per cent this quarter from the previous three months.

In its fourth-quarter earnings statement, Dell said that revenue had edged up 2 per cent to US$16 billion (Dh58.7bn) but that net income was down by 18 per cent to $764 million.

But in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, Dell reported an 8 per cent increase in sales during the fourth quarter.

Michael Collins, the general manager for Dell's emerging-markets division in the region, said the Middle East was outperforming many developed markets. It is "one of our faster-growing marketplaces," he said.

Mr Collins declined to specify the exact revenue growth for the Middle East, but said that it was above the 8 per cent for the wider Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

"The Middle East as a business, during the fourth quarter and the full year, was a very fast-growing portion of that business," he said.

He attributed these gains partly to a growing share of the computer and corporate-server markets.

In the UAE market, Dell said notebook sales were up in the fourth quarter of last year, although desktop shipments experienced a "significant decline" on the same period in 2010.

Dell is the leading seller of PCs in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, and the second-largest IT vendor in the Middle East as a whole.

Despite this, Dell has been slow to enter the potentially lucrative global tablet market, which is dominated by Apple's iPad.

The company said earlier this year that it plans to launch a consumer tablet device by the end of this year.

Mr Collins said Dell was "on track" to launch a consumer tablet this year, adding that the 2012 roll-out of the new device would include the Middle East.

While Apple devices dominate global tablet sales, many rivals have emerged in this rapidly growing market.

Research In Motion (RIM), which makes the BlackBerry smartphone, said on Tuesday that it had just launched a software update to its PlayBook tablet. The new PlayBook OS 2.0 includes a unified message inbox and thousands of new applications.

Mike Al Mefleh, RIM's Middle East director of product management, services and platforms, was optimistic about the prospects for the PlayBook in the Middle East, saying it has been "doing well for us" in the region.

"We feel that we can develop this further and further."

This is despite sales of the device falling below expectations globally, forcing RIM to sell it at heavy discounts.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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