IBM CEO Virginia E. Rometty
Virginia Rometty became IBM's chief executive on Jan. 1, 2012. Reuters

IBM, the world's No. 2 computer company, reported fourth-quarter results Thursday that met expectations, higher-than-expected revenue and delivered a bullish forecast for 2012.

IBM also said sales from its Europe-Middle East-Africa segment, which could have been damaged by the eurozone crisis, rose 1 percent to $9.6 billion, as European clients kept ordering technology services.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM reported fourth-quarter net income rose 4 percent to $5.5 billion, or $4.62 a share, exactly analysts predicted. Operating income was actually $4.71 a share. Revenue gained 2 percent to $29.5 billion.

For all of 2011, IBM reported net income rose 7 percent to $15.9 billion or $13.06 a share. Revenue jumped 7 percent to $106.9 billion, bringing IBM back into the elite club of technology companies with annual revenue above $100 billion: Hewlett-Packard and Apple.

We delivered outstanding results, said new CEO Ginni Rometty, who succeeded Samuel Palmisano on Jan. 1.

IBM could report per-share earnings of at least $20 by 2015, she added.

IBM's cash pile, most of it outside the U.S., rose to $11.9 billion from $11.2 billion in the third quarter.

IBM shares jumped $4.97 in after-hours trading to $185.49. The company's market value is $212.8 billion.