3. A Stronger Balance Sheet
One sign that HP CEO Meg Whitman's five-year turnaround plan is picking up momentum: a much improved HP balance sheet. HP entered the third year of the turnaround with its operating company net debt reduced by nearly $8 billion over the last year, bringing it below the high debt level that soared when it paid $12 billion for Autonomy in 2011.
"With that enhanced financial strength, I can tell you we have got a lot more flexibility to return cash to shareholders and to make investments needed to grow our business," said Whitman at the company's annual analyst meeting. HP also has generated approximately $7 billion in free cash flow in the first nine months of the fiscal year, well ahead of initial guidance for the year. In fact, HP expects $8 billion in free cash flow for fiscal 2013.