Hewlett-Packard 4Q Earnings Conference Call Nuggets: Revenue Guidance and Acquisitions

Hewlett-Packard Co (NYSE:HPQ) reported its fourth quarter earnings and in its subsequent conference call, the company answered the following analysts’ questions we thought you’d like to know.

Revenue Guidance

Kathryn Huberty – Morgan Stanley asked: Is the lack of revenue guidance a function of a new strategy to be more selective in the revenue you choose and maximize profitability, or is it more of a function around visibility and the disruptions in Thailand? As a follow-up, Cathie, you mentioned a number of areas like BCS and IPG inventory correction that will weigh on your revenue performance. Can you talk about any segments where you think you can take share in fiscal ’12, whether it would be the product portfolio you’re entering the year with or other functions like leveraging, pricing, and bundling?

Meg Whitman – President and CEO responded: The reason that we’re not guiding to revenue is, we want to manage this company for a profitable growth.

We really want to put the focus on earnings per share and cash flow–particularly in some of some of our businesses such as services–we drive towards a more profitable business so that our business unit heads are focused on business mix where can they find the most profitable parts of the mix that they can sell as opposed to just drive for revenue.

Now, I don’t want to overstate it.

Obviously, this company has always been focused on profitability, but I think a better measure of our success as a management team is going to be on EPS growth and cash flow. That’s the reason that we’re doing that.

I want to make sure that everyone knows we’re going to report revenue by segment. We’re going to have the same transparency in reporting that we always have, but it’s going to give us some degrees of freedom to improve the management of this Company by just guiding to EPS.

Cathie Lesjak – EVP and CFO responded: I can answer your question around where we think we can take share, we’ll be focused on profitable growth.

That has not limited us in the past to go ahead and gain share. Right now our guidance is really reflective of an uncertain macro environment at large and we believe that we’ll be able to continue to maintain or gain share in a number of our key segments.


Brian Alexander – Raymond James asked: Just to follow-up on M&A, you said you aren’t interested in any major acquisitions near-term because you think HP doesn’t have major strategic holes to fill or would you rather just straighten the balance sheet following the Autonomy acquisition and focus on execution? Is the lack of M&A appetite more timing-related than strategic decisions around the portfolio?

Meg Whitman – President and CEO responded: I’d say it’s a bit of both, but first and foremost is timing.

We’ve got to get back to business fundamentals.

We’ve got to execute.

We’ve got to make improvements in all of our businesses in 2012 and we need to rebuild our balance sheet. So, we may make some small acquisitions that help us–particularly in our software business and other spots–but we’re not going to any big acquisition in 2012.

We’ll evaluate where we are when we get through this rebuilding year; I would characterize it as a reset and rebuilding year.

One other thing I have been struck by is we have a fantastic portfolio of assets. We just need to make them work harder together and we need to run this company as one HP, so that we can bring the full portfolio to bear to solve customer problems. As you probably know, it has been more run historically by business units and not as much synergy between these different portfolio of products that I think we can hugely benefit from.

We can update you when in 2013, but no large acquisitions in 2012.