Thu, Sep 30, 2010 - Page 10 News List

HP provides a rosy outlook, but no hints on next CEO

BUSINESS AS USUAL:Next year’s revenue is expected to be at least US$131.5 billion, more than the US$131.4 billion analysts were looking for

AP, SAN FRANCISCO

Hewlett-Packard Co offered a rosy financial outlook on Tuesday without giving any hints on the biggest issue hanging over the world’s largest technology company: The identity of its next CEO.

The firm has been looking for a new leader since its board pressured Mark Hurd, its CEO of five years, to step down in a scandal early last month revolving around allegations of sexual harassment and deceptive expense reports.

Although HP didn’t shed any light on its CEO search at Tuesday’s analyst meeting, its current executives left little doubt that they believe the company will prosper no matter who is at the helm.

The company’s interim CEO, Cathie Lesjak, told analysts HP’s per-share earnings for its fiscal year ending in October next year will range from US$5.05 to US$5.15, excluding certain accounting items related to its recent acquisition spree. That would be up by as much as 14 percent from this year and ahead of the average estimate of US$4.99 per share among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Next year’s revenue is expected to total US$131.5 billion to US$133.5 billion, an increase of 5 percent to 7 percent. Analysts were looking for US$131.4 billion in revenue.

The projections reflect HP’s confidence that it can boost profit margins as it expands into consulting services, computer security and storage while maintaining its lead in PCs and printers. The company also expects to keep grabbing market share through acquisitions, having already spent about US$31 billion buying 35 companies during the past four years.

HP shares gained US$0.36 to close on Tuesday at US$41.62, then added another US$0.42 cents in extended trading.

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