Apple sets quarterly profit record
Technology giant Apple has smashed the global record for quarterly profits after racking up a surplus of 18 billion US dollars (£11.9 billion).
The figure for the final quarter of last year is the highest ever recorded by a public company, beating the previous record set by ExxonMobil in 2012.
The landmark performance followed the sale of a record 74.5 million iPhones, which drove the company's revenues up by 30% to 74.6 billion US dollars (£49.2 billion).
The results compare to revenues of 57.6 billion dollars (£38.1 billion) and net profit of 13.1 billion dollars (£8.6 billion) in the same quarter a year ago. International sales accounted for 65% of the quarter's revenue.
Chief executive Tim Cook said: "We'd like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high."
Its performance was boosted by sales of the latest generation of iPhone - the 6 and 6 Plus, whose popularity has been driven by bigger screens than previous versions.
Mr Cook said in a conference call with analysts that demand for the phones was "staggering" and results would have been even higher if not for the impact of the strong dollar on overseas sales.
The company sold 21.4 million iPads, down 22% from a year earlier. Some experts have suggested that the launch of the new iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and the lowering of the original iPad mini price to under £200 could see a return to growth for Apple's tablet.
The new phone models also helped Apple increase its share of the China market.
The company does not give iPhone sales by country, but a report published by research firm Canalys estimates that Apple sold more smartphones in China during the last quarter than any other maker.
Apple is already the world's most valuable company with a market capitalisation of 650 billion US dollars (£428.5 billion).
The stock has gained more than 50% over the last year and rose by 5% in after-hours trading on Wall Street last night.
Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, said: "Apple has delivered a staggeringly successful quarter, as sales of its flagship iPhone products soared over the period.
"One of the main drivers for the success was the company's increasing exposure to the Chinese market, whilst there were also strong contributions from the likes of Singapore and Brazil."