SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Hewlett-Packard Co. reported on Thursday a quarterly net profit that more than quadrupled from a year ago, when the computing and printing giant took more than $1 billion in charges for job cuts.
The results comfortably beat analysts expectations, and HP shares rose in after-hours trading, extending gains made earlier on Thursday.
HP has in recent months endured the embarrassing disclosure of its investigation into board leaks to the media, which spurred the collection of phone records of directors, a few HP workers and reporters. The scandal ultimately claimed HP Chairman Patricia Dunn, who has since resigned as a director.
HP said net income for its fiscal fourth quarter ended October 31 rose to $1.70 billion, or 60 cents per share, from $416 million, or 14 cents per share. Revenue climbed 7 percent to $24.6 billion.
Excluding items, HP said it had a profit of 68 cents per share. Analysts had expected the Palo Alto, California-based company to earn 64 cents per share before items, on average, on revenue of $24.1 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.
In the calendar third quarter, HP recaptured the worldwide lead in personal computer shipments from longtime rival Dell Inc. for the first time since the end of 2003. Dell has this year struggled with disappointing financial results and the biggest electronics recall in U.S. history.
For the current quarter, HP said it expects earnings per share, including stock-based compensation, of 60 cents to 62 cents before items, including 5 cents per share for amortization of purchased intangible assets. HP expects revenue this quarter of $24.1 billion to $24.3 billion.
Analysts currently expect HP to earn 48 cents per share, on average, on revenue of $22.7 billion, in its first fiscal quarter of 2007.
The company ended the year “with solid revenue growth, margin expansion across our key businesses and excellent cash flow from operations,” Chief Executive Mark Hurd said in a statement.
HP said fourth-quarter revenue in its lucrative imaging and printing group rose 7 percent to $7.3 billion, and operating profit was 14.8 percent of revenue in the unit, up from 13.2 percent a year earlier. HP is the world’s biggest maker of computer printers.
In enterprise storage and servers, a business that has rebounded in recent quarters, revenue climbed 4 percent to $4.7 billion and operating margin widened to 10.7 percent from 9 percent.
Revenue in HP’s software unit climbed 14 percent to $349 million as its operating margin was 17.2 percent. Revenue in the company’s computer services businesses rose 5 percent to $4.1 billion, and operating margin was 12.4 percent.
HP shares rose to $40.35 in extended trading after closing up 0.9 percent at $40.13 in regular-session trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Shares of HP have surged 40 percent this year, based on Wednesday’s closing price, compared with a 14 percent decline in those of Dell. The Merrill Lynch Technology 100 Index, of which both companies are constituents, has advanced 11 percent in the same time period.
Fuente: Reuters, Duncan Martell