NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Dell Inc. said Thursday that strong demand from business customers helped drive the PC maker's profit up 52% in its most recent quarter.
The Round Rock, Texas, company reported net income of $441 million, or 22 cents per share, for the quarter ended April 30. That's up 52% from $290 million, or 15 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Excluding certain accounting charges, Dell reported earnings of $824 million, or 30 cents per share, in the quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, who typically exclude one-time items from their estimates, were looking for 27 cents.
Sales rose 21% to $14.9 billion, versus a forecasted $14.3 billion.
"Commercial demand continued to build in the first quarter and Dell is optimistic the trend will continue throughout the year," the company said.
Dell (DELL, Fortune 500) said it expects demand from corporate customers to remain strong as businesses upgrade IT equipment. But the company also said sales could slow in the current quarter due to seasonal factors.
Sales to large businesses rose 25% to $4.2 billion, driven by demand for servers and technology services. Revenue from public agencies rose 22%, while sales to small and medium businesses rose 19% in the quarter.
Dell's consumer business, traditionally its smallest division, posted a 16% sales gain.
The results reflect a growing recovery in corporate spending on information technology, which slumped along with global economic activity last year.
However, HP reported a 6% decline in sales versus the prior quarter, suggesting that Dell is gaining market share, according to Dinesh Moorjani, an analyst at Broadpoint AmTech.
"Investors were looking for greater margin improvement," Moorjani said.
The fuss over Apple's complex strategies to avoid taxes put the corporate tax code on display in all its convoluted glory this week. More
The 79 tornadoes that hit over three days in 10 states caused billions in losses, with most of damage concentrated in Moore, Oklahoma. More
Users are flocking to a new email program. More
Vermont, a patent-rich state, is cracking down on so-called "patent trolling," a growing problem for entrepreneurs nationwide. More