HOUSTON — Compaq Computer Corp. said Monday that its profit rose 202% in the fourth quarter as the company achieved $1 billion in annual revenue faster than any start-up company in history.
Compaq has grown out of the shadow of International Business Machines Corp. since its founding in February, 1982, and is regarded as one of the major forces in the personal computer business.
Compaq said it earned $49 million in the fourth quarter, up from $16.2 million a year earlier. Revenue soared 131% to $432 million from $187 million.
For all of 1987, the Houston-based company's profit of $136.3 million was more than triple the $43 million reported for 1986.
Annual revenue rose 96% to $1.22 billion from $625 million.
"This historic milestone further underscores our leadership position in building advanced, high-performance personal computers," Rod Canion, Compaq's president and chief executive, said in a prepared statement.
In 1985, Compaq's revenue of $504 million was enough to land it on the Fortune 500 list of the biggest U.S. industrial companies faster than any previous company.
Compaq began as a maker of portable "clones" of the original IBM personal computer. The company leaped ahead of IBM in 1986 when it became the first major company to make PCs based on Intel Corp.'s advanced 80386 microprocessor.
Compaq's 1987 growth came despite IBM's introduction last year of its new Personal System-2 line, which some observers feared would render existing personal computers obsolete.
Compaq executives insist that they will be able to offer all the functions made possible by the new IBM machines without switching to the new design. Nevertheless, Compaq engineers are working on a machine similar to IBM's Personal System-2 that could be rolled out if business warrants it.
Compaq had no sales in 1982. It reported sales of $111 million in 1983, $329 million in 1984 and $504 million in 1985.
"This 1987 result came after the last six years of putting pieces into place," said Michael Swavely, Compaq's vice president of sales and marketing. "There are still tremendous opportunities out there."
Swavely attributed a fast development cycle, responsiveness to customer needs and effective relations with distributors as factors in the company's success.
He estimated that only about 25% of the business user computer market had been penetrated, which will leave room for continued growth in the business computer market in the future.
A Compaq spokesman said the company could not immediately say which company had previously held the record for achieving $1 billion in sales the fastest, but said "no one else was even close."