Top executives at IBM, including CEO Ginni Rometty, have said they will forgo their bonuses for 2013, as annual sales dropped by 5%.

Total revenue fell 2% to $99.8 billion (£60.6 billion) for the year. IBM said headline performance was dented by a slower take-up of its services in the so-called BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, where sales declined by 14% on an annualised basis.

Hardware sales were particularly sluggish, with revenue from IBM's Systems and Technology hardware segment down 26% from the fourth quarter in 2013 to $4.3 billion. For the year, Systems and Technology delivered $14.4 billion, a decrease of 18.7% from the full year 2012.

However, on the positive side, the firm reported a net profit of $6.19 billion for the three months to December-end; a rise of 6% over the corresponding quarter last year.

CEO Rometty said the company was determined to reverse its 2013 performance and currently expects its operating profit for 2014 to rise by more than 10%.

"While we made solid progress in businesses that are powering our future, in view of the company's overall full year results, my senior team and I have recommended that we [C-suite executives and senior management] forgo our personal annual incentive payments for 2013," Rometty explained.

"We will continue to transform our business and invest aggressively in the areas that will drive growth and higher value," she added.

IBM reconfirmed that it would invest more than $1.2 billion towards the expansion of its data centres and cloud-storage business. It is currently building 15 new centres to bring its portfolio up to 40. The company’s own industry forecast indicates that the cloud-services market could be worth $200 billion by 2020.

IBM also said it had added 2,400 new clients since its acquisition of Texas-based SoftLayer.