Apple met analysts expectations, reporting a net first quarter 2002 profit of $38 million ($0.11 per share) during its financial call yesterday.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call expected Apple to report earnings per share of $0.11, during the quarter ended December 29, 2001.

The results contrast favourably with Apple's first quarter 2001 results, where the company returned a net loss of $195 million ($0.58 per share), attributed at the time to delays shipping Mac OS X, delays shipping its then new Power Macintosh G4 range, and inventory problems.

Revenue rise Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2002 was $1.38 billion - up 37 per cent from a year ago, with international sales contributing 48 per cent of the total.

The company shipped 746,000 Macs during the quarter. Apple had more than 800,000 visitors to its newly opened chain of 27 retail stores in December.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: "Apple delivered a solid quarter, and is one of the few companies making a profit in personal computers during these challenging times."

Innovation Reiterating statements made last week regarding the company's plans to innovate out of recession, he said: "During last quarter we continued our strategy of innovation. We launched the wildly popular iPod, and sold more than 125,000 of them in two months."

Apple's revenue in the Americas increased 34 per cent from a year ago. Revenue in Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew 11 per cent, while revenue from Japan soared 118 per cent, the company said.

Looking to the second quarter, Apple expects revenue of about $1.5 billion, with earnings per share remaining flat, Fred Anderson, Apple's chief financial officer, said.

Increased growth The company expects stronger growth for the second half of the fiscal year, or the six month-period beginning in March, Anderson said. This will be driven by sales of new and recently launched products such as iPod, iMac, Apple-only software, the transition to OS X, and sales at Apple retail stores, Anderson said.

"We're pleased to have delivered healthy results while maintaining lean channel inventories in a very challenging environment," said Anderson. "Our balance sheet remains very strong, with almost $4.4 billion in cash," he observed.

Apple took in revenue of $48 million from its retail stores during the quarter just ended, Anderson said.

The financial results announcement remains available for viewing using QuickTime.