Business

HP misses revenue targets, hits earnings goal as it adapts to weak PC sales

HP released its second fiscal quarter earnings this afternoon, hitting its profit targets but missing on revenue.

HP reported revenue of $27.6 billion for the three months that ended on April 30, down 10 percent from $30.7 billion a year ago. Earnings per share were 87 cents, down 11 percent from 98 cents a share a year ago.

While it isn’t as cool as Apple and it doesn’t make games like Microsoft, HP is a critical piece of the electronics industry, as it straddles both the consumer and enterprise markets across a bunch of product lines. The company has $120 billion in annual revenue (the biggest in the industry by that measure) and more than 330,000 employees. It has made 70 acquisitions in the past 15 years, but its stock price has been hurting lately.

Analysts estimated HP would report non-GAAP earnings of 81 cents a share on revenues of $28.08 billion. Analysts had previously expected third-fiscal quarter earnings of 84 cents a share and full-year earnings of $3.49 a share.

Meg Whitman, chief executive, accentuated the positive. In a statement, she said, “We beat the upper end of our non-GAAP diluted EPS outlook for the quarter by 5 cents per share, driven by better than expected performance in Enterprise Services and Printing, coupled with the accelerated capture of restructuring savings and improvement in our operations.”

Last quarter, the company had net income of $1.2 billion for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $1.5 billion in the same quarter a year ago, as revenue fell to $28.4 billion. That translates to $0.82 per share, which is down 11 percent from 2012 but is well above HP’s previously provided guidance of $0.68 to $0.71 per share.

It’s better than HP’s outlook in November, when the company had just reported bad numbers and came clean on its awful acquisition of Autonomy. And it’s much better than the second quarter of 2012, when HP faced its biggest-ever quarterly loss.

Whitman said, “I am encouraged by our performance in the second quarter, and I feel good about the rest of the year. As I have said many times before, this is a multi-year journey. We have a long way to go, but we are on track to deliver on our fiscal 2013 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share outlook.”

HP reduced its debt during the quarter. Personal systems (PC) revenue was down 20 percent from a year ago, with a 3.2 percent operating margin. Commercial PC revenue was down 14 percent and consumer revneue was down 29 percent. Total unit sales were down 21 percent, while desktops were down 18 percent and notebooks were down 24 percent. HP is poised like other PC makers to introduce new machines based on Intel’s latest microprocessors, code-named Haswell.

Printing revenue was down 1 percent, but its operating margin is still strong at 15.8 percent. Hardware unit sales were down 11 percent from a year ago, with commercial units down 5 percent and consumer units down 13 percent.

Enterprise revenue was also weak, down 10 percent. Networking revenue was up, industry standard server revenue was down 12 percent, and business critical systems were down 37 percent. Enterprise services were down 8 percent from a year ago. Software revenue was down 3 percent, and financial services were down 9 percent from a year ago.

HP has been dealing with a couple of negative trends. The PC market has slowed down because of rising tablet sales. And it has also had to deal with a downward shift in printing habits as the growing use and accessibility of the Internet makes paper less necessary. HP’s financial services business has been growing, but most of the other parts have been weak. On top of that, HP hasn’t been participating in the mobile market at all.

Whitman has previously stated that HP will not be releasing a new smartphone until 2014. HP is reportedly working on Android-based tablets and phones.


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