CDW Cautious On 1Q 2002 After Beating 4Q Expectations

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CDW Computer Centers posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings but cautioned that it wouldn't meet first-quarter 2002 forecasts.

CDW expects first-quarter income of between 43 cents and 47 cents per share, less than Thomson Financial/First Call's forecast of 50 cents per share.

"We continue to make cautious assumptions regarding the economy," said John Edwardson, chairman and CEO of Vernon Hills-based CDW.

First-quarter sales are expected to be between $975 million and $1.03 billion, Edwardson said. "Actual earnings per share could differ significantly from this earnings guidance if the company does not meet the sales estimate, if gross margins decrease as a percentage of sales from our historical experience, or for other business or marketplace reasons," he added.

In the fiscal 2001 fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, CDW posted earnings of $41.9 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with $42 million, or 46 cents per share, for the year-ago period. The results beat Thomson Financial/First Call's forecast by 1 cent per share. Revenue for the quarter was $988.2 million, down from $1.01 billion a year earlier.

For the 2001 fiscal year, CDW reported earnings of $168.7 million, or $1.89 per share, up from $162.2 million, or $1.79 per share, for fiscal 2000. Revenue for 2001 was $3.96 billion, up slightly from $3.84 billion in 2000.

"We continue to deliver standout performance despite tough economic times. We increased our customer base, gained market share and performed well financially during the fourth quarter of 2001 as well as the full year," said Edwardson.

CDW had 356,000 commercial customers in 2001, a 15 percent year-over-year gain, Edwardson said. "We were particularly pleased with the growth in our public-sector business, which serves the government and education markets, areas of enormous potential for CDW," he said.

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