* Q4 EPS ex-items 61 cents vs Street view 52 cents
* Q4 revenue $8.81 bln vs Street view $8.35 bln
* Sees seasonal, sequential Q1 rev and margin declines
* Shares fall nearly 1.5 percent after-hours
(Adds CEO comment, byline, updates shares)
By Ian Sherr
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 18 Ingram Micro Inc IM.N
reported better-than-expected results after corporate IT
spending bounced back, but lower-than-forecast margins worried
investors and helped its shares slide 1.5 percent.
The world's top distributor of tech products from personal
computers to microchips said gross margins slid to 5.69
percent, below Wall Street expectations of 5.75 percent, as
competition with rivals intensified.
Ingram Micro -- which along with rivals Avnet Inc (AVT.N)
and Arrow Electronics (ARW.N) is considered a barometer of
corporate technology spending -- also forecast normal, seasonal
declines in revenue and gross margin in the current quarter
versus the previous quarter.
Executives sounded a positive note for 2010, when analysts
expect a strong recovery in spending by corporations on
"The business seems to have hit an inflection point," Chief
Financial Officer William Humes said in a statement, adding
that cost controls were paying off. "North America delivered
the highest sequential sales growth in seven years, on top of
the near-record sequential growth in the third quarter."
Chief Executive Greg Spierkel told Reuters part of that
growth was a result of both cost-cutting measures and his
industry recovering from a deep recession.
Spierkel said corporations were definitely beginning to
spend again and -- barring further economic woes -- he expects
information technology spending as a whole to grow faster than
the overall economy as companies make up for nearly a year and
a half of lower spending.
"Is it sustainable? Not to that level," he said of high
year-over-year growth in profit and revenue.
"We're dealing with a very brief period where things
correct and get themselves back to normal within the next three
to four quarters, then we'll see a more routine pattern."
The company said net income rose to $107.02 million, or 64
cents a share, in its fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 2, from a
loss of $564.29 million, or $3.48 cents a share, in the year-ago
Excluding items, Ingram Micro earned 61 cents a share,
ahead of the average analyst estimate of 52 cents a share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose to $8.81 billion, versus the Wall Street
target of $8.35 billion.
Shares of Santa Ana, California-based Ingram Micro closed
at $18.52 on the New York Stock Exchange and dropped to $18.25
in after-hours trading.
(Reporting by Ian Sherr; Editing by Richard Chang, Phil