HP shares fall to nine-year low on bleak outlook

Hewlett-Packard’s share price fell to its lowest point in nine years yesterday, after CEO Meg Whitman gave investment analysts a bleak outlook for the comping year.

Speaking at the company’s annual investment analysts meeting in San Francisco, Whitman said that sales by the company’s IT services division – its largest – will fall by between 11% and 13% in the current financial year, which began this month.

Whitman said that the company is implementing a long-term reorganisation of its operating model that will deliver 3% to 5% annual growth after this year. Under the new model, 20% of HP’s services revenue will come from "higher-growth, higher-margin" services such as cloud computing, while 80% will come from traditional data centre, application and business process outsourcing.

The company also plans to improve efficiencies by consolidating the supply chain functions, sales teams and support divisions of its printing and PC divisions.

“It’s important to remember the transition that has occurred at HP over the last decade,” Whitman said. “HP has a powerful set of assets, a culture of engineering innovation and a trusted brand,” said Whitman.

“Now, we have to focus on bringing our incredible assets together to deliver for our customers, employees and shareholders,” she said.

In August HP warned investors that it would be writing down the value of its IT services business by $8 billion during the quarter, the steepest quarterly loss in its 73-year-history.

In May, the company announced plans to cut 27,000 jobs by 2015, including 9,000 jobs by November this year. HP said it is on track to deliver on its savings target and complete its restructuring by fiscal 2014.

Whitman became HP’s third CEO in just over a year in September 2011 after a failed bid to become the governor of California, replacing Léo Apotheker who replaced Oracle’s current president Mark Hurd.

In an interview with news agency Reuters, Cisco chief executive John Chambers suggested that Whitman would have a difficult time in turning the Silicon Valley company around, saying that no company has ever been turned around by the fifth CEO on the job.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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