International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) on Monday reported its third-quarter net income jumped 12% from a year ago, easily beating analysts’ estimates.

Earnings rose to $3.6 billion, or $2.82 a share, from $3.2 billion, or $2.40 a share in the same period last year, according to a statement released after the close of the stock markets.

The Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant said revenue for the period ended September 30 rose 3% to $24.3 billion. Analysts had expected IBM to report third-quarter earnings of $2.76 a share, and $24.2 billion in revenue.

"In the third quarter we grew revenue in our hardware, software and services businesses, expanded margins and again increased earnings per share at double digits," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer, in the statement.

"We achieved excellent performance in our growth markets unit, reflecting sustained investments through the downturn and the continued strength of the infrastructure build-out in these countries,” he added.

"Looking ahead, we are uniquely positioned in the enterprise, investing in high value segments like business analytics, advanced systems and smarter planet solutions. As a result, we are confident we can deliver strong business performance to grow profit, return value to our shareholders and to achieve full-year 2010 diluted earnings per share of at least $11.40."

Overseas growth contributed to the strong quarter.

Revenues from the company’s growth markets organization increased 16% and represented 21% of IBM’s total geographic revenue in the quarter.

Revenues from what IBM describes as its BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – increased 29%, and 28 other growth market countries also had double-digit revenue growth, adjusting for currency, the company said.

Growth markets revenues for both servers and storage increased by more than 20% in the quarter. IBM now has 103 sales offices in the growth markets countries after opening 40 offices in 2010.