Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

HP Beats Street’s Lowered Expectations

Hewlett Packard just reported quarterly earnings, and the results show that HP earned 92 cents a share on sales of $30 billion.

The EPS number exceeded the expectations of analysts, who had anticipated HP would report per-share earnings of 87 cents. But sales at $30 billion even were light of the $30.7 billion Wall Street had expected.

Sales of PCs fell 15 percent year over year with an operating margin of 5.2 percent. Consumer sales fell by 25 percent and corporate PC sales fell 7 percent, while sales on a unit basis fell 18 percent. HP had faced a tough quarter on many fronts. With the shortage in hard drives caused by the last year’s floods in Thailand sapping overall demand for PCs, sales have been tricky and it showed. Corporate demand was thought to be relatively stable, while consumer demand continues to be slow amid stiff competition from Apple’s iPad and a tough economy overall.

Tony Sacconaghi, an analyst with Bernstein Research, said in a research note to clients issued today that HP, despite being the world’s largest vendor of PCs, appears to have struggled more with the Thailand problem than any other vendor.

On the printer front, HP’s Imaging and Printing Group saw its sales decline by 7 percent with a shockingly low 12.2 percent operating margin, down from 15.4 percent in 2011. HP’s printer unit has significant long-term problems, not the least of which is the fact that people are generally printing less. At first blush, this appears to be a serious blow to a business unit that was once the pride of the company.

Enterprise servers, Storage and Networking saw a 10 percent decline overall. The Business Critical server business — the one involving servers running Intel’s Itanium chip, which is the subject of an HP lawsuit against Oracle — saw its sales decline 27 percent. Networking revenue was flat and everything else was down.

Software was a bright spot, but a small one. Sales were up 30 percent and services grew 108 percent, but again, that’s off a low base and nowhere near large enough to offset the troubles anywhere else.

HP’s guidance for the current quarter is also below the street consensus. HP says it sees earnings of 88 to 91 cents, versus the street forecast of 95 cents. There’s no change to the full-year EPS guidance calling for $4 a share in 2012.

HP shares are down by 19 cents, or less than 1 percent in after-hours trading as of 4:26 pm ET. It’s a mixed bag, so given Dell’s performance yesterday, it seems investors are willing to accept an EPS beat alongside a slight revenue miss.

That’s a quick look at the results. HP’s conference call with analysts begins at 2 pm PT. I’ll be dialed in and liveblogging the blow-by-blow.

Here’s HP’s statement:

HP Reports First Quarter 2012 Results
— First quarter non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $0.92, down 32% from the prior-year period and above previously provided outlook of $0.83 to $0.86 per share
— First quarter GAAP diluted earnings per share of $0.73, down 38% from the prior-year period and above previously provided outlook of $0.61 to $0.64 per share
— First quarter net revenue of $30.0 billion, down 7% from the prior- year period
— Returned $1.0 billion in cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases
PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 22, 2012 – HP today announced financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2012. For the quarter, net revenue of $30.0 billion was down 7% from the prior-year period, and down 8% when adjusted for the effects of currency.
GAAP diluted earnings per share (EPS) was $0.73, down 38% from the prior-year period. Non-GAAP diluted EPS was $0.92, down 32% from the prior-year period. First quarter non-GAAP earnings information excludes after-tax costs of $364 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, related to amortization of purchased intangible assets, restructuring charges and acquisition-related charges.
―In the first quarter, we delivered on our Q1 outlook and remained focused on the fundamentals to drive long-term sustainable returns,‖ said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer. ―We are taking the necessary steps to improve execution, increase effectiveness and capitalize on emerging opportunities to reassert HP’s technology leadership.‖

Earnings highlights
Information about HP’s use of non-GAAP financial information is provided under ―Use of non-GAAP financial information‖ below.
Trends and regional performance
In the Americas, first quarter revenue was $13.2 billion, down 9% year over year and down 8% when adjusted for the effects of currency. Europe, the Middle East and Africa revenue of $11.7 billion was down 4% year over year and down 5% when adjusted for the effects of currency. Revenue in Asia Pacific was $5.2 billion, representing a 10% decrease year over year and down 12% when adjusted for the effects of currency.
Revenue from outside of the United States in the first quarter accounted for 66% of total HP revenue. BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) generated revenue of $3.1 billion, down 13% from the year-ago period, and representing 10% of total HP revenue.
Revenue in HP’s commercial businesses declined 4% year over year. Revenue in HP’s consumer businesses, within PSG and IPG, was collectively down 23% year over year.
Business group results
— Personal Systems Group (PSG) revenue declined 15% year over year with a 5.2% operating margin. Commercial client revenue declined 7%, Consumer client revenue declined 25% and Workstations revenue was flat. Total units were down 18%, with a 19% decline in desktop units and an 18% decline in notebook units.
— Services revenue of $8.6 billion grew 1% year over year with a 10.5% operating margin. Technology Services revenue grew 2%, Application and Business Services revenue was flat and IT Outsourcing revenue grew 2% year over year.
— Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) revenue declined 7% year over year with a 12.2% operating margin. Commercial hardware revenue was down 5% year over year with commercial printer units down 10%. Consumer hardware revenue was down 15% year over year with a 15% decline in printer units.
— Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking (ESSN) revenue declined 10% year over year with an 11.2% operating margin. Networking revenue was flat, Industry Standard Servers revenue was down 11%, Business Critical Systems revenue was down 27% and Storage revenue was down 6% year over year.
— Software revenue grew 30% year over year with a 17.1% operating margin, including the results of Autonomy. Software revenue was driven by 12% license growth, 22% support growth and 108% growth in services.
— HP Financial Services revenue grew 15% year over year driven by an 8% increase in net portfolio assets and flat financing volume. The business delivered a 9.6% operating margin.
Asset management
HP generated $1.2 billion in cash flow from operations in the first quarter. Inventory ended the quarter at $7.3 billion, with days of inventory up 3 days year over year to 28 days. Accounts receivable of $15.9 billion was up 2 days year over year to 48 days. Accounts payable ended the quarter at $12.4 billion, down 2 days from the prior- year period at 48 days. HP’s dividend payment of $0.12 per share in the first quarter resulted in cash usage of $244 million. HP also utilized $780 million of cash during the quarter to repurchase approximately 29 million shares of common stock in the open market. HP exited the quarter with $8.2 billion in gross cash.

Outlook
For the second quarter of fiscal 2012, HP estimates non-GAAP diluted EPS to be in the range of $0.88 to $0.91 and GAAP diluted EPS to be in the range of $0.68 to $0.71.
Second quarter fiscal 2012 non-GAAP diluted EPS estimates exclude after-tax costs of approximately $0.20 per share, related primarily to the amortization of purchased intangible assets, restructuring charges and acquisition-related charges.
There is no change to HP’s previously provided full year fiscal 2012 outlook of non-GAAP diluted EPS of at least $4.00 and GAAP diluted EPS of approximately $3.20.
Full year fiscal 2012 non-GAAP diluted EPS estimates exclude after-tax costs of approximately $0.80 per share, related primarily to the amortization of purchased intangible assets, restructuring charges and acquisition-related charges.
As part of its annual financial review process, HP implemented several organizational realignments effective Q1 FY12. To provide improved visibility and comparability, HP has reflected these realignments in prior financial reporting periods on an as-if basis. These realignments resulted in, among other things, the transfer of revenue within and among various financial reporting segments and business units. The changes do not impact HP’s previously reported consolidated net revenue, earnings from operations, net earnings or earnings per share at the company level. To reflect these changes, HP released modified quarterly and annual consolidated condensed statements of earnings, segment financial results and statements of business unit revenue for fiscal 2010 and 2011, which are available on HP’s Investor Relations website at www.hp.com/investor/home.
More information on HP’s quarterly earnings, including additional financial analysis and an earnings overview presentation, is available on HP’s Investor Relations website at www.hp.com/investor/home.
HP’s Q1 FY12 earnings conference call is accessible via an audio webcast at www.hp.com/investor/2012Q1webcast.


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