Tech titan Apple reported a 4.6% increase in quarterly revenue on Wednesday, handily beating Wall Street expectations after selling significantly more iPhones than analysts had predicted.
The solid results, which amount to the strongest non-holiday quarter in Apple history, encouraged investors who have grown restless about a perceived lack of innovation at the company. Apple shares soared more than 8% in after hours trading, sending the company’s market value back over the $500 billion level.
IPhone sales were particularly strong, with the company selling 43.7 million units, substantially more than 37.7 million that analysts had been expecting.
“These are surprisingly good numbers, especially on the iPhone,” Piper Jaffray technology analyst Gene Munster said in an appearance on CNBC shortly after the results were released. “Investors should feel a sigh of relief on these numbers.”
Apple reported revenue of $45.6 billion and net profit of $10.2 billion, or $11.62 per share, compared to revenue of $43.6 billion and profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per share one year ago. For the next quarter, Apple forecast revenue between $36 billion and $38 billion, slightly below that $38.1 billion that analysts had been expecting.
“We’re very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “We’re eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to market.”
On a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Cook said that Apple established a new iPhones sales record in the so-called BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China. Earlier this year, Apple announced a deal to make the iPhone available for sale to China Mobile’s 760 million customers.
Apple also announced a rarely-seen seven for one stock split — which means that each existing shareholder will six additional shares — in an effort to make the company more accessible to ordinary investors. The company, which is now sitting on $156 billion in cash, also boosted its stock buyback program to $90 billion, and increased its dividend by 8% to $3.29 per share.
“We generated $13.5 billion in cash flow from operations and returned almost $21 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases during the March quarter,” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said in a statement. “That brings cumulative payments under our capital return program to $66 billion.”
In one sour note, iPad sales fell short of analyst forecasts, with company selling 16.35 million units compared to expectations of 19.7 million. Cook explained the difference by saying that last year Apple increased iPad inventory, but reduced it this year.