HP turns in better than expected Q4 earnings

Hewlett-Packard’s fourth-quarter result isn’t all good nows, but the headline figures are better than expected.

Profit dropped 13 percent from the same period last year. Sales fell by three percent to US$29 billion.

Although the numbers are down, they are better than expected. Sales beat forecasts by a touch over US$1 billion, while profit was one percent better than anticipated.

One highlight is the company’s printing business where unit sales climbed six percent although falling prices mean sales revenue still fell by one percent. PC unit sales were up two percent, but revenue was down two percent. Server sales climbed 10 percent.

Enterprise computing was a weak spot with sales of business-critical servers off by 17 percent and enterprise service revenue down nine percent.

HP is part way through an effort to rebuild by managing its declining business areas – including the printer division – while ramping up new  activities. This was a strong quarter given the overall carnage in the traditional sectors of the tech industry, but sales forecasts including those for the PC market are gloomy. The company’s turnaround programme is far from over.