Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman Tuesday told Wall Street analysts that the computer giant has made "great progress" in its turnaround, having gained share in the most recent quarter in blade servers, PCs and printers. But, there's still a lot of work to do to "drive consistent execution," she said.
"Overall I am very pleased with the progress we have made, but we still have a lot of work to do to drive consistent execution and navigate a rapidly shifting marketplace," said Whitman after the company posted better-than-expected fourth fiscal quarter results that drove HP shares up 6 percent or $1.51 per share to $26.50 in after-hours trading.
Whitman said HP, which is entering the third year of her five-year turnaround plan, must improve its ability to execute and make sure that it keeps "the customer at the center of what we do."
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Even with its first enterprise group sales growth in two years, she said the company is squarely focused on fixing its enterprise business go-to-market strategy around "channel engagement and pricing."
HP is, in fact, in the midst of an aggressive effort to significantly reduce the time it takes for solution providers to receive competitive bid pricing approvals. In addition, the company is aiming to bring to market new HP enterprise group exclusive channel bundles aimed at sparking sales growth.
With a significant hyperscale server deal win in the quarter, HP grew worldwide server shipments by more than 5 percent in the third quarter, halting a slump of eight consecutive quarters of shipment declines, according to preliminary market data from Gartner.
At the same time, rival Dell's worldwide server shipments, according to preliminary Gartner estimates, plummeted by more than 14 percent in the third quarter as the company closed a $24.9 billion leveraged buyout spearheaded by Dell Founder, Chairman and CEO Michael Dell.
Whitman said HP expects to gain over a point of share in its blade server business, extending its 27-quarter market lead in the business. "We saw improved sales in our mainstream server business, but we need to improve our pricing discipline and profitability," she said.
Whitman's comments came after the company posted results for its fourth fiscal quarter, ended Oct. 31, just above the Wall Street consensus of $1.00 per share on sales of $27.9 billion.
HP reported non-GAAP diluted earnings per share for its fourth fiscal quarter of $1.01, down 13 percent from the year-ago quarter of $1.16 per share. Sales for the fourth fiscal quarter were $29.1 billion, down 3 percent compared with $29.95 billion in the year-ago quarter.
For the full fiscal year 2013, HP reported non-GAAP diluted earnings per share of $3.56, down 12 percent from $4.05 in fiscal year 2012. Sales for the full fiscal year were $112.3 billion, down 7 percent from $120.3 billion in fiscal 2012.
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