Buoyed by a sharp improvement in its software business, Hewlett-Packard reported a quarterly profit on Monday.
The company reported net earnings of $2.3 billion, or $0.86 per share, for the fourth quarter ending Oct. 31, compared to net income of $1.9 billion for the year-earlier quarter. Earnings beat the estimates made by Thomson Financial analysts, who projected net income of $2.184 billion and $0.82 earnings per share. The earnings are based on a non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) basis.
HP recorded fourth-quarter net revenue of $28.3 billion for the quarter, a 15 percent year-over-year increase.
The company took a $30 million charge related to licensing its manufacturing, distribution and design of HP cameras so that it can concentrate on its home photo printing and online photo services.
Net revenue for fiscal 2007 was $104.3 billion, a 10 percent growth year-over-year. HP recorded operating profit of $9.6 billion.
The company's software revenue doubled year-over-year to $698 million, said Mark Hurd, CEO and president of HP in a conference call following the earnings announcement. Hurd attributed the software rise partly to the acquisition of Mercury Interactive, which HP acquired for $4.5 billion last year.
The growth reflected strong operational performance of the OpenView and Mercury software businesses, said Cathie Lesjak, executive vice president and chief financial officer at HP, during a separate analyst conference call. For fiscal 2008, HP software revenue was $2.3 billion, making it the sixth largest software company in the world, Hurd said in the call.
Notebook revenue grew 49 percent year-over-year, with more people using mobile devices to access digital content, Hurd said. The world is going mobile, especially in emerging markets, he said.
China is becoming a key market for HP, Hurd said. HP's Personal Systems Group, which sells PCs and notebooks, recorded a 100 percent growth in China, making it the group's third-largest market. HP is selling products in around 400 Chinese cities with more expansion planned, Hurd said. Overall revenue in the emerging BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) markets grew 37 percent, Hurd said.
Revenue for PSG topped the $10 billion mark during the quarter, a 30 percent year-over-year increase, Lesjak said. PC unit shipments went up 31 percent.
Hurd was pleased with 78 percent growth in x86 blade servers revenue, he said. The Enterprise Storage and Servers group reported revenue of $5.2 billion, a 10 percent increase over the previous year.
Though storage revenue grew 7 percent year-over-year, there is more room for HP to grow in the space, Hurd said. HP wants to take advantage of the explosion in creation and storage of digital content globally, Hurd said. Though Hurd indicated there would be further investments in the group, he didn't comment on plans to acquire storage companies to boost growth in the storage space.
In the Imaging and Printing Group, consumer hardware revenue declined 5 percent year-over-year due to declines in appliance printers and camera shipments, Lesjak said. Total printer hardware unit shipments were up 5 percent year-over-year, which is slower than recent periods, Lesjak said. Overall, the group recorded revenue of $7.6 billion, a 4 percent year-over-year growth.
Despite steady growth across all segments, Hurd said there was more room to grow. "HP still has room to improve, but we like how we are positioned," he said.
The company estimates revenue for fiscal 2008 to be $111.5 billion.
This story was updated on November 20, 2007