* Q4 EPS ex-items 59 cents vs Wall St view 37 cents
* Q4 revenue $8.7 bln vs market view $8.9 bln
* Outlook cautious for current quarter
* Shares unchanged in after-hours trade (Updates share move, adds analyst and executive comments)
NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Ingram Micro Inc IM.N swung to a loss in the fourth quarter on weaker global sales of computer products and goodwill impairment charges, and gave a cautious outlook for the current quarter.
Cost cuts helped the world’s largest computer products distributor post higher-than-expected earnings excluding special charges, but sales for the quarter ended Jan. 3 fell below most Wall Street forecasts.
Ingram Micro reported a net loss of $564 million, or $3.48 per share, compared with a profit of $114 million, or 64 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier.
Excluding items such as goodwill impairment, it would have recorded a profit of 59 cents a share, higher than the average analyst forecast of 37 cents according to Reuters Estimates.
Revenue fell 13 percent from a year earlier to $8.7 billion, lower than the average analyst forecast for $8.9 billion.
It forecast first-quarter sales falling year-on-year by a percentage “in the low-to-mid 20s” and said recent sales had been weak across the board.
“Although I’m pleased with how we performed in a difficult year, 2009 will prove to be even more challenging for the IT industry,” Chief Executive Gregory Spierkel said on a conference call with analysts.
The announcement came on the same day that Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), Ingram’s top supplier which accounts for over 20 percent of its net sales, announced weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue and cut its full-year profit outlook.
Ingram’s CEO also said the company would be taking additional cost-cutting measures on top of already announced moves, aiming for annualized savings of $100 million to $120 million. Ingram, which had 15,000 employees at the end of 2007, said it would reduce headcount by 8 percent in 2009.
Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey said the market would likely need to mark down its expectations.
“Despite aggressive cost cutting, we expect consensus earnings estimates to move lower as the speed of revenue declines will outpace the company’s cost-cutting initiatives in the near term,” he said in a research note.
Ingram shares were unchanged after-hours from Wednesday’s close at $12.33 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; editing by Richard Chang and Gunna Dickson)