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HP Still Golden

It was expected to return $1.05 a share on $29.81 billion

HP revenues were up 13% year-over-year to $30.8 billion in the fiscal second-quarter ended April 30. A favorable exchange rate tickled the percentage rate to the tune of four points and HP's recent 3Com acquisition, which closed during the quarter, contributed $50 million. Earnings were up 28% to $2.2 billion or 91 cents a share. Its operating margin worked out to 9.3%, up 0.9%.

HP was expected to return $1.05 a share on $29.81 billion.

CEO Mark Hurd called it an "exceptional quarter with strong performance across every region." Growth was called broad-based driven with enterprise systems and storage up 31% to $4.5 billion, PCs up 21% to $10 billion, and printing up 8% to $6.4 billion. Deferred purchases are starting to come back and Hurd was relatively buoyant about Europe.

CFO Cathie Lesjak said the demand environment was improving - more from SMBs than the large corporates apparently - and that HP would accelerate its strategic investment in growth.

Hurd expressed confidence in the "enormous opportunity that lies ahead" and raised the company's full-year outlook.

HP's second-quarter revenue was up 11% in the Americas to $13.5 billion, 11% in EMEA to $11.8 billion, and 19% in Asia-Pacific to $5.5 billion. HP is now getting 66% of its revenue from outside the U.S., with the BRIC countries up 25% accounting for 10% of revenues.

The company said industry standard server revenue was up a hefty 54%, while storage revenue increased 16% with the midrange EVA product line up 3%. Old-line business critical systems revenue declined 17%, while blade revenue was up 45%. The enterprise unit's operating profit was worth $571 million, or 12.6% of revenue, up from $250 million, or 7.2% of revenue, a year ago.

HP expects to field a new Superdome system probably in Q4.

PCs were up 20% in units. Notebook revenue was up 17%; desktop revenue was up 27%; and workstation revenue, largely from the financial services mob, was up 27%. The elusive commercial client revenue was up 19%, while good ole consumer revenue increased 25%. The unit's operating profit was $465 million, or 4.7% of revenue, up from $378 million, or 4.6% of revenue.

The printer unit, which hasn't been quite the gold mine it used to be lately, showed an increase of 13% in commercial hardware sales and 16% on the consumer side. Printer units were up 9%, with commercial units down 8% and consumer up 15%. Supplies were up 6%. The unit's operating profit was $1.1 billion, or 17.2% of revenue, versus $1.1 billion, or 18.2% of revenue, last year.

Hurd said he was "not thrilled" with the unit number, down 8% in lasers, but the mix was okay and laser ASPs, in part affected by commodity pricing, were up. HP figures to see a 30% increase in units this quarter and an overall stronger second half. He said demand is strong but HP wasn't able to supply it all.

Software remains sluggish for HP, down 1% to $871 million. Its Business Technology Optimization revenue increased 3%, but other software revenue was down 8%. The unit's operating profit was $162 million, or 18.6% of revenue, up from $157 million, or 17.8% of revenue.

Speaking of software Hurd said the company's proposed acquisition of Palm was for its IP, expecting to use its webOS for cloud-based printing and other "interconnected devices." He pooh-poohed it as a smartphone play.

HP's services revenue, which involves its huge acquisition of EDS, increased 2% to $8.7 billion. Infrastructure technology outsourcing revenue increased 6%, while revenue in technology services and business process outsourcing were roughly flat year-over-year. Application services revenue was down 2%. The unit's operating profit was $1.4 billion, or 15.9% of revenue, up from $1.2 billion, or 13.8% of revenue, last year.

The company said ProCurve revenue increased 31%, and HP networking overall increased 58% including the impact of the 3Com acquisition.

HP is projecting revenue this quarter of $29.7 billion-$30 billion, with GAAP earnings of 87 cents-89 cents and non-GAAP EPS of $1.05 to $1.07. For the full year HP expects revenue growth of 8%-9% with GAAP earnings of $3.76 to $3.81, down from its previous estimate of $3.79-$3.86, and non-GAAP EPS of $4.45-$4.50, up from its previous estimate of $4.37 to $4.44.

Its revenue projections do not include Palm.

It exited the quarter with $14.3 billion in the bank.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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