HP reports strong Q4 results, ups Q1 outlook

CEO Enrique Lores said HP saw strong demand in the fourth quarter and is well positioned with its portfolio of hardware, software, and subscriptions.

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HP reported better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings due to strong demand for its Windows PCs amid hybrid work.

The company reported fourth quarter revenue of $16.7 billion, up 9.3% from a year ago, with earnings of $3.1 billion, or $2.71 a share. Non-GAAP earnings for the fourth quarter were 94 cents a share. 

Wall Street was expecting HP to report fourth quarter revenue of $15.4 billion with non-GAAP earnings of 88 cents a share.

For fiscal 2021, HP delivered revenue of $63.5 billion, up 12.1% from the previous year, with earnings of $6.5 billion, or $5.33 a share.

CEO Enrique Lores said HP saw strong demand in the fourth quarter and is well positioned with its portfolio of hardware, software, and subscriptions. HP recently outlined its multi-year growth plans at an investor meeting.

On a conference call with analysts, Lores said:

The progress we are making against our priorities is creating a more growth-oriented portfolio. At our Analyst Day, I said that we expect our 5 key growth areas to grow double digits and generate over $10 billion in revenue in fiscal '22. These businesses collectively grew 12% this quarter. This includes more than 30% growth for our Instant Ink business, as well as more than 20% growth for our industrial graphics portfolio. We see our key growth areas becoming a bigger part of overall revenue and profit mix moving forward. We are driving this growth even as we continue to navigate a complex and dynamic operational environment that includes robust demand and persistent supply constraints. The actions we have been taking to mitigate industry-wide headwinds are paying off. There is no quick fix, but we are strengthening our operational execution and making continued progress quarter-by-quarter. 

PC sales drove HP's results. Personal systems revenue in the fourth quarter was $11.8 billion, up 13%. Consumer PC sales fell 3% in the quarter, and commercial revenue surged 25%. Total units fell 9% in the fourth quarter. Lores added:

A big part of our success is improved mix, we are driving given our leadership in the commercial PC market. And as more offices reopened, we led a shift toward Windows-based commercial products where we saw the strongest demand and highest profitability. We continue to see significantly elevated order backlog. As I shared last month, we expect component shortages to persist in at least the first half of '22.

For the printing business, HP delivered revenue of $4.9 billion, up 1% from a year ago. Both consumer and commercial units fell double digits.

As for the outlook, HP projected first quarter non-GAAP earnings of 99 cents a share to $1.05 a share. Wall Street was looking for first quarter non-GAAP earnings of 94 cents a share. For fiscal 2022, HP projected non-GAAP earnings between $4.07 a share and $4.27 a share. HP is projecting fiscal 2022 cash flow of at least $4.5 billion.