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Strange how much longer it takes the subsidiaries to add up their annual figures than it takes the parent to harmonize the figures from all the subsidiaries and present the overall picture. IBM Corp manages that in the third week in January, but there is still no sign of the numbers from several major country operations, notably IBM Deutschland GmbH. IBM Japan Ltd has finally limped in with its contribution, showing that recurring profit and sales posted grew for the the third straight year. Recurring – operating – profit rose by 27.1% to the equivalent of $904m on sales up 8.9% at $11.49bn. Underlining how manufacturing these days is done strictly where it is cheapest, domestic Japanese sales rose 13.0% to $9.29bn, but exports fell 5.6% to $2.2bn. The systems integration division saw sizable growth on the back of active corporate investment in intranet systems, and personal computer sales and those of other hardware were also healthy. The company’s return on equity increased to 16.6% from 12.6% the previous year, taking it to the top among Japanese computer companies. For the year to December 1997, IBM Japan plans to expand sales in the network-related field and to push marketing strongly through franchised stores. It plans to hire a total of 900 new university graduates in April 1998, double this year’s recruitment.

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