HP posts $8.9bn Q3 loss despite rising IPG profits

Commercial press sales was one of the few bright spots as Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced an $8.9bn (5.6bn) third quarter loss.

Though to be fair, a good portion of that red ink was caused by a huge write-down linked to HP's nearly $14bn purchase of Electronic Data Systems.

HP said the PC market continues to be soft as it reported a 5% decline in quarterly net revenue to $29.7bn.

"HP is still in the early stages of a multi-year turnaround, and we're making decent progress despite the headwinds," President/CEO Meg Whitman said in both a press release and in comments to analysts.

"During the quarter we took important steps to focus on strategic priorities, manage costs, drive needed organizational change, and improve the balance sheet. We continue to deliver on what we say we will do."

HP reported its Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) saw 3% decline in revenues compared to the same quarter in 2011 to $6bn. IPG operating profit was up 1.6% year-on-year to 15.8% of revenue and $949m in profits.

While total printer unit shipments fell by 17%, all of that was driven by a decline in consumer printers. Commercial printer revenue and hardware units were both up 4% year-on-year.

"In IPG, we saw solid margin improvement in the third quarter," Whitman told analysts during a conference call. "Ink Advantage, our innovative business model targeting affordable printing in emerging markets, made significant progress. We greatly expanded the number of countries we now cover with this program."

She added: "Our focus on the high end of the hardware market continues to show positive results with strong share gains. We also launched HP ePrint Enterprise 2.0.

"This amazing technology enables enterprises to easily connect every employee's mobile device to an existing fleet of network printers via HP's cloud printing solution."

Whitman also cited the sale of 10 HP Indigo 10000 digital presses to Consolidated Graphics as among the highlights of the quarter, and added, "The integration of PSG and IPG is well under way. We are reducing overlap and driving cost reductions between the 2 businesses while at the same time taking advantage of their combined scale."

The manufacturer has undertaken a global restructure that involves cutting 8% of its workforce, equal to 27,000 jobs, by October 2014. More than 11,000 of these are expected to have left by the end of its financial year this October.


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