(AP) -- IBM Corp. said Wednesday it expects to earn at least $20 per share in 2015, excluding some acquisition and pension-related costs - a forecast that reflects the growing importance of IBM's hugely profitable software division and "growth markets" outside the U.S. where demand for technology is surging.
The forecast would mean a growth rate for the company's earnings per share of about 12 percent each year over the next five years. IBM is expecting earnings of $11.20 per share this year, or $11.35 excluding items.
It also assumes that revenue will grow an average of five percent each year over the next five years, in constant currency. That was apparently encouraging to investors because some analysts have expressed concerns about IBM's ability to boost its revenue in a meaningful way going forward, considering how large the company has become.
IBM demonstrated in the downturn that it's skilled in wringing more profits from its businesses even when they're hurting. Last year, IBM's total revenue fell 8 percent to $95.8 billion, a decline that would have been 5 percent were it not for currency fluctuations.
After the forecast was given at an investor meeting Wednesday, IBM shares jumped 4.6 percent, or $5.79, to close the regular trading session at $132.68.
IBM, which is based in Armonk, N.Y., has been benefited from healthier corporate spending on technology as the recession wanes. Its first-quarter net income climbed 13 percent from the year before to $2.6 billion. Revenue rose 5 percent at $22.9 billion.
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