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Data Tech Data profits soar

Tech Data Corp., growing from both domestic and international sales, reported record fourth-quarter earnings.

The company also promoted a key executive, setting up a successor to chairman and chief executive officer Steve Raymund. Anthony A. Ibarguen emerged as the No.

2 man after he was appointed president and chief operating officer. He remains in charge of Tech Data's North American and Latin American operations.

"We wanted to put in place a clear ladder of succession," Raymund said. "We are also recognizing the increasing international scope of the responsibilities of our senior managers."

The company's continued expansion is fueling its rapid growth. For instance, Tech Data is building sales in Brazil and France. Earnings for the wholesale distributor of computer components nearly doubled in the fourth quarter to $17.8-million, or 40 cents a share, up from $9.2-million, or 24 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Sales rose 45.8 percent to $1.31-billion from $901-million for the year-earlier quarter.

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, net income was $57-million, or $1.35 a share, compared with $21.5-million, or 56 cents a share, a year ago. Sales increased 49 percent to $4.6-billion from $3.1-billion last year.

The company released its results after the markets closed. Its stock closed Wednesday at $27.87{, down 25 cents. Its 52-week high was $35.25 in December.

"The stock has swooned . . . along with a lot of high-tech stocks," Raymund said. "We're disappointed considering our earnings."

Raymund would not comment on whether the company is seeking tax breaks for a new 240,000-square-foot office building under construction at its Clearwater complex. He did express reservations about the further growth of the company in Clearwater. The company plans to build distribution centers in California and New Jersey.

"We have a whole lot in Clearwater, which is an advantage and disadvantage," he said. "You can make a strong argument that we should decentralize our operations."

Raymund's biggest concern is that a hurricane could wipe out Tech Data's telemarketing operations, all of which are in Clearwater.