Ingram Micro Q4 sales were lifted by a currency tailwind and dramatically improved IT spending in EMEA, which helped it break into year-on-year growth for the first time since the recession began.
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The wholesaler recorded sales of $8.81bn (£5.71bn) for the period ended 2 January and profits of $107m - including restructuring charges of $7.7m - compared to a $564m loss a year earlier.
Foreign exchange translations had a positive impact on sales of approximately 6%. Op-ex fell to $354.7m, down from $1.1bn last year, which included good will impairment charges.
Greg Spierkel, Ingram CEO said operating income at $146m was nearly back to 2008 levels "indicating that we are turning the corner for the first time since the recession began."
Sales in North America fell 5% year-on-year to $3.6bn, up 12% sequentially while in Asia revenues of $1.7bn were up 15% on 2008 and 5% on last quarter. In Latin America sales fell 2% year-on-year but rose 20% sequentially to $446m.
However, EMEA - once Ingram's underperforming region - grew 4% on last year and went up 42% sequentially to $3bn. The UK was among the region's top performers in the territory, the distributor revealed.
"For [EMEA], the region that continues to be hardest hit by the recession its great to be getting back on track," said Spierkel, "we see signs of the economic recovery in some countries and not in others."
"Europe continues to be soft compared to other economies but we are starting to see some decent traction in the region overall," he said.
The company added that its reorganisation in EMEA, including a cost reduction programme and exiting certain businesses also contributed to the numbers.
The New Year had started promisingly said Spierkel and spending in the market was on the up following "a year and a half of under investment", with applications including Windows 7 and Office 2010 likely to spur refreshes.
"It was the consumer that helped to keep the industry a little more buoyant than the commercial side of the equation, I think the commercial side is now starting to kick in to some extent," he said.
The market signs may be encouraging but Spierkel warned the favourable currency impact in Q4 may swing in the opposite direction given the volatile economies in parts of Europe, particularly the south.