HP Inc: Don't ask us about Xerox. Just get a load of our, er, flat as a pancake sales growth

Meanwhile, VMware had a bumper third quarter


HP Inc presented pretty unexciting fourth quarter and end-of-year financial results – and stayed strictly silent about the elephant in the room: the threatened hostile takeover by Xerox.

The PC and printer slinger pretty much spent the past 12 months in a standstill, revenue growth-wise. It also warned the ongoing Intel desktop microprocessor shortage, which looks to carry into next year, will hit future sales. And while commercial PC shipments were up, consumer units were down.

For HP Inc's FY2019 Q4, ended October 31:

  • Revenues were $15.4bn, up 0.3 per cent from last year's figure and ahead of the $15.25bn predicted by analysts.
  • Net income of $388m was a 73 per cent drop from $1.5bn in Q4 FY 2018.
  • Non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.60 topped analyst estimates of $0.58 and were up 11 per cent from $0.54 last year.
  • Personal Systems group (PC) revenues were $10.4bn, up 4 per cent from $10.06bn in last year's quarter. Notebook revenues were up 2 per cent, while desktops were up 5 per cent and workstations up a noteworthy 12 per cent. Overall units shipped were up eight per cent.
  • Printing revenues were $4.98bn, down 6 per cent from last year's $5.3bn quarterly haul. Consumer printing revenues fell 10 per cent. Commercial was down 2 per cent, and supplies (ink, toner, etc) revenues fell by 7 per cent.

For the full fiscal 2019:

  • Revenues of $58.7bn were virtually flat – up 0.5 per cent – from $58.5bn last year.
  • Net earnings of $3.2bn were a 41 per cent drop from $5.3bn last year. This was in part due to higher administrative and restructuring costs, as well as a tax windfall boosting last year's numbers.
  • Non-GAAP earnings per share of $2.24 were up 11 per cent from last year's $2.02 return.
  • Personal Systems revenue of $38.7bn was up 3 per cent from 2018's $37.6bn.
  • Printing revenues of $20.1bn were down 4 per cent from $20.8bn last year.

"2019 marks our third consecutive year of revenue, non-GAAP operating profit and non-GAAP earnings growth, with non-GAAP EPS up 11% and strong free cash flow of $4 billion,” HP CEO Enrique Lores said of the numbers.

"We delivered an excellent Q4, with 11% non-GAAP EPS growth. Our strategy is working, and we are confident in our business heading into FY20."

Conspicuously absent from the report was any talk of the ongoing merger battle with would-be suitor Xerox. Execs said that their conference call about the Q4 numbers would have no mention of Xerox, and financial analysts tuning in were expressly forbidden from asking questions about the matter.

HP Inc has thus far rejected all acquisition offers, leaving Xerox to threaten a hostile takeover attempt as each side continues to bicker over financial reviews of the other.

"Our focus remains on creating value for all of our shareholders and delivering for our customers, partners and employees," Lores said in what was the closest HP would get to talking about the takeover.

"We are making progress and we are very confident in our ability to create value for our shareholders, which is our priority."

Shares in HP Inc were up 1.94 per cent at $20.45 in after-hours trading. ®

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