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IBM CFO says he's 'confident' that IBM will grow again

  • IBM's EPS: $2.38 per share
  • Revenue: $18.16 billion
  • 20th straight quarter of year-over-year revenue declines

IBM will grow again, IBM CFO Martin Schroeter told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Tuesday.

"The portfolio will grow. I am confident that the IBM company will grow again," Schroeter said. "We're taking time to make sure we invest in the right places and make sure we get the kind of margin high-value profile we're looking for."

"We have not been solely focused on just that top line, headline number of 'when can we print growth.' Had we wanted to print growth, we probably wouldn't have divested of $8 billion worth of businesses. We'd probably reduce our investments overseas, where, obviously, there's a currency impact, so that has not been our focus, and so that 20 quarter headline is probably not the framing that we're thinking about," he added.

The tech company reportedfirst-quarter earnings of $2.38 per share on revenue of $18.16 billion just after the bell on Tuesday, marking the 20th straight quarter of year-over-year revenue declines.

A consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $2.35 per share on revenue of $18.39 billion.

Schroeter said that while Watson is a key aspect of their businesses, the future is in the cloud.

"Watson as a technology is a silver thread that runs through much of these businesses. So, for instance, our security business now has Watson technology embedded into the offerings," he added. "But the strategic imperatives in total, which is where we see the enterprises moving, they are moving to cloud. They are moving to more analytics and cognitive solutions and they are moving to mobile and more secure applications."

Shares of IBM fell more than 4 percent in after-hours trade on Tuesday.

Schroeter also remarked on the H1B visa program, saying that any changes made to the program wouldn't impact IBM's business. President Donald Trump unveiled a new executive order on the H1B visa program Tuesday morning.

"We would encourage some changes to that H1B visa program, really to reign it in and use as we do," he said.

"There are, clearly, some companies that have built an entire business model around that H1B visa program, which was not at all the intent. So, we would encourage some changes to the program. They don't have a material impact on us if they were to change it because we're using it in the right way, which is again, short-term, high-skills," Schroeter said.