HP's sales up 19 percent, earnings down slightly

The world's largest PC maker remains confident, but cites continued challenges for the industry ahead.

Updated at 2 p.m. PST with quotes from the earnings call.

Hewlett-Packard on Monday officially announced it recorded $33.6 billion in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2008, up 19 percent from a year ago, or 16 percent when adjusted for currency effects.

HP's profit came out to $2.1 billion, or 84 cents per share. That's down slightly from $2.2 billion a year ago, though up from 81 cents per share.

The company pre-released its results last week. The results are the rare bright spot for the PC industry, which is expected to bear the brunt of the downturn in the tech industry.

On a conference call with reporters Monday, CEO Mark Hurd said he remained confident in his company's ability to successfully weather the global economic crisis.

HP will "gain share, expand earnings, and emerge from the current environment in a meaningfully stronger position," Hurd said.

Still, "the macroeconomic environment will remain challenging," he said.

Unlike rival Dell, whose sliding profit was reported last week , HP says that though it is always looking at ways to save money, it's not likely to come from layoffs.

"We'll get through this period without losing any muscle in the organization," Hurd said. He also predicted that the company would continue to hold steady in its market share positions in all its businesses even through the current economic climate.

HP's core PC business revenue grew 10 percent to $11.2 billion, and shipments increased 19 percent. Notebooks were primarily responsible for the business unit's success as revenue for the quarter grew 21 percent. Desktop revenue declined 2 percent.

Hurd said the outlook for the PC industry continues to look "challenging," and the company is bracing itself. But he said there won't be any "extraordinary" changes in prices in the near term.

In its printer business, the company reported a 1 percent drop in revenue. Hurd said that's because HP's largest clients are delaying purchases of new equipment.

"People are holding onto existing products longer. We're fine with that," he said. "Supplies revenue is good (up 9 percent year over year)...people are still printing."

HP also finished the integration of its EDS buy during the quarter. As such, HP Services revenue increased 99 percent to $8.6 billion. Of that, $3.9 billion came directly from the EDS acquisition between the August 26 acquisition date and the final day of the quarter. Excluding EDS, services revenue grew 10 percent.

HP's shares were down to $35.39, a drop of 0.87 percent, in after-hours trading Monday.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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