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IBM陷入双重困境

2014-03-20    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

IBM多年来在科技巨头中一枝独秀。但罗睿兰开始担任CEO两年后,IBM开始陷入了一个双重的困境:一方面,公司的收入在持续萎缩;另一方面,公司提出了雄心勃勃的每股收益目标,但实现起来有些力不从心。

 For years, IBM (IBM) was that rare tech giant: beloved by investors despite sluggish revenue growth. That was because the company was as determined as it was clever about ratcheting up its earnings-per-share figure. But two years into Ginni Rometty's tenure as CEO, the company faces a double dilemma: Revenue is shrinking while the company is having trouble hitting its ambitious EPS targets.
多年来,IBM在科技巨头中堪称一枝独秀:尽管收入增长迟缓,却仍为投资者所青睐。原因在于,这家公司一直在坚定不移、巧妙高明地一步步提高自己的每股收益数字。但罗睿兰出任CEO两年后,IBM陷入了困境:公司收入持续萎缩的同时,雄心勃勃的每股收益目标也变得难以企及。

IBM's stock is down 13% over the past year, while the S&P 500 (SPX) is up 19% in the same period. Over the previous four years, IBM had been outperforming the S&P 500, rising 126% to the benchmark index's 97%.
去年,IBM的股价下跌了13%,远远比不上同期标准普尔500指数(S&P 500)19%的涨幅。而之前4年,IBM的表现一直优于标普500指数,涨幅高达126%,跑赢了基准指数标普500的97%涨幅。

IBM made a pledge to investors in the guise of a roadmap: generate $20 in earnings per share by 2015. It's an impressive goal, especially when you consider that the company's EPS in 2002 was only $1.81 a share. IBM has set out similar goals -- an earlier roadmap vowed $10 EPS by 2010 and reached that figure a year early.
IBM用一份路线图向投资者承诺:到2015年实现每股收益20美元。这是一个了不起的目标,特别是考虑到2002年这家公司的每股收益只有1.81美元。过去IBM也设定过类似的目标:上一份路线图承诺到2010年实现每股收益10美元的目标,结果提前一年就实现了目标。

But this time some are wondering how the company will get there. Including IBM. In the company's annual report released this week, Rometty wrote in a letter to shareholders that "our performance did not meet our expectations" as revenue and operating income both declined in 2013. Yet IBM is determined to reach that $20 EPS goal in any way it can.
但这一次,有些人开始担忧IBM打算如何实现新的目标。这其中甚至包括IBM自己。IBM上周发布了年度报告,其中,罗睿兰在致股东信中写到:“公司表现未能达到我们的预期”,2013年收入和营运利润双双下滑。但IBM下定决心,采用一切可能的方式实现每股收益20美元的目标。

Some analysts have suggested the company has so many levers to pull in driving earnings per share higher, like aggressive buybacks and layoffs, that the roadmap has lost relevance. IBM beat the Street's profit forecast last quarter, for example, largely because of lower taxes. This year, it will be aided by the $2.3 billion sale of its server business to Lenovo.
部分分析师表示,IBM公司有很多手段可以推高每股收益,包括激进的回购和裁员,因此路线图其实无关紧要。例如,上一季度IBM的收益之所以超出华尔街预期,很大程度上是由于税额较低。今年,IBM将服务器业务以23亿美元的价格卖给了联想(Lenovo),也将给它的业绩带来帮助。

With all those levers, Wall Street is expecting IBM to reach the targets. But all while overlooking another important line on the income statement: revenue. IBM's revenue has been shrinking for the past seven quarters. Analysts expect the company to see revenue decline again throughout 2014.
鉴于所有这些手段和工具,华尔街预计IBM有望能实现目标。但所有这些手段都忽视了损益表中的另一项重要内容——收入。过去7个季度,IBM收入一直在持续萎缩。分析师预计,2014年全年IBM的收入将继续下降。

IBM's revenue comes from a broad array of divisions, from software to hardware to consulting to outsourced IT services. Over the past two years, software has been the only division to see consistent growth. The largest segment, global IT services, fell 4.3% last year. The biggest decline came from hardware like servers and storage: down 18% last year after falling 8% in 2012.
IBM的收入来自从软件到硬件、再从咨询到外包IT服务的众多部门。过去2年,软件是IBM唯一一个收入持续增长的部门。IBM最大的业务部门——全球IT服务去年收入减少了4.3%。收入下降最大的是服务器、存储等硬件业务:去年下降了18%,再之前的2012年下降了8%。

The revenue decline in hardware has been showing signs of accelerating, falling 26% in the fourth quarter. Gartner estimates that sales of servers around the world fell 6.6% in the quarter. Even within that shrinking market, IBM saw its share slide to 26.5% from 34.5% in the year-ago quarter.
硬件收入下降已经呈现出加速的迹象:去年第四季度下降了26%。据市场调研公司盖特纳(Gartner)估计,去年第四季度全球服务器销售下降了6.6%。尽管市场萎缩,IBM的市场占有率仍从上年同期的34.5%降至了26.5%。
 
A good portion of revenue declines came in hardware sales to China, which has curtailed purchases from U.S. companies in the wake of the NSA spying scandal. IBM's revenue from China declined 23% last quarter. Rometty paid a three-day visit to China last month, reportedly to restore trust in a business relationship that stretches back three decades.
收入下降很大一部分来自于对华硬件销售,在美国国家安全局(NSA)爆发间谍丑闻后,中国开始限制从美国公司购买硬件产品。上一季度,IBM来自中国的收入下降了23%。上个月,罗睿兰对中国进行了为期3天的访问,据报道称是为了重建近30年的商业信任。

Rometty is also wasting no time cutting back on the weak hardware business. In late January, shortly after IBM said hardware weighed down overall sales, the company announced a sale of its low-end server business to Lenovo for $2.3 billion, a discount to the $4 billion price cited last spring.
罗睿兰迅速地压缩了疲弱的硬件业务。1月末,就在IBM表示硬件业务拖累整体收入后不久,这家公司宣布将低端服务器业务以23亿美元出售给联想,较去年春季提到的40亿美元价格有很大折扣。

IBM is also cutting as many as 13,000 of its 431,000 jobs as part of a $1 billion restructuringplan aimed at helping the company meet its goal of $20 EPS by 2015. Late last week, reports emerged that IBM was cutting up to a quarter of its hardware jobs, beyond the 7,500 workers affected by the sale of its low-end servers group to Lenovo.
IBM还将从43.1万个职位中裁员1.3万人,这是它10亿美元重组计划的一部分,旨在帮助公司实现到2015年每股收益20美元的目标。3月初,有报道称IBM的硬件业务职位将缩减达1/4,这还不包括它把低端服务器业务出售给联想之后受到影响的那7,500人。

While IBM is trimming back its hardware division, Rometty has been trumpeting its initiatives that could lead to future growth: cloud, big data, mobile apps, and its Watson AI system. The company's Smarter Planet initiative, combining cloud technology and analytics, rose 20% last year. Revenue from cloud-based services rose 69%. And last week Rometty encouraged developers to create apps powered by Watson.
就在IBM努力精简硬件业务的同时,罗睿兰正在鼓吹有望带来未来增长的一些新计划:云、大数据、移动应用和其Watson 人工智能系统。它的智慧地球(Smarter Planet)计划结合了云技术与分析,去年增长了20%。基于云技术的服务收入大幅增长了69%。而且,3月初,罗睿兰鼓励开发者开发基于Watson的应用。

The push into new areas of growth is reminiscent of the push IBM made nearly a decade ago, away from PCs -- selling that division to Lenovo in 2005 -- and further into software and IT services. The difference this time is that while some of the areas Rometty is pushing into, like analytics, suit IBM's strengths, others like cloud computing risk cannibalizing its core IT and software businesses with lower-cost models.
推进新领域寻求增长让人想起近10年前IBM开辟个人电脑之外的业务、深耕软件和IT服务领域(2005年,IBM个人电脑子公司卖给了联想)。此次的不同之处是,罗睿兰试图开拓的有些领域(比如分析)符合IBM的强项,但其他领域(比如云计算)却存在以低成本模式蚕食公司核心IT和软件业务的风险。

Given all these moving pieces, it would be understandable if IBM didn't meet its $20 EPS target by 2015. One of the more powerful levers it has is buybacks, which have reduced its shares outstanding to 1 billion from 2.3 billion over the past 20 years. The $15 billion the company added to its buyback arsenal late last year will surely help prop up the earnings-per-share figure by shrinking the denominator.
鉴于所有这些动向,如果IBM不能实现到2015年每股收益20美元的目标,也是可以理解的。更有力的一个手段是回购。过去20年中,这家公司已通过回购将流通股数量从23亿股减少到了10亿股。去年末,这家公司新增回购资金150亿美元,未来必能通过降低(流通股数)分母推高每股收益。

Increasingly, some are suggesting that it's the numerator in the EPS figure that needs attention, especially as long as revenue is declining. The company has $11 billion in cash on hand that could be better directed at shrewd purchases of small but promising big data, cloud, and AI companies. One prominent short-seller is suggesting IBM's heavy buybacks could be a sign of weakness.
越来越多的人表示,需要关注的是每股收益数据中的分子,尤其是在收入下降的情况下。IBM手头的110亿美元现金可以有更精明的用处,购买前景良好的小型数据、云或人工智能公司。一位知名的卖空人士称,IBM大举回购可能是走弱的一个迹象。

Layoffs, buybacks, and selling off weak divisions are necessary moves for a company trying to stay ahead in a competitive arena like enterprise IT. But they only take you so far. If you're in tech and investors aren't seeing growth, they'll take it out of the stock price. As important as EPS is to investors, it's not as important as the simple price that the market is paying for a stock.
在企业信息技术这样竞争激烈的行业,一家公司要保持领先地位,裁员、回购和出售薄弱业务都是必要的举措。但这些举措也只能帮到这么多。如果公司身处科技行业,而投资者看不到增长,他们将剔除股价中的成长估值。每股收益对于投资者确实很重要,但还比不上股价。(财富中文网)



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