HP Discusses Dell and the PC Business

Includes: DELL, HPQ
by: David Jackson

Here are the comments HP made on last night's conference call about its PC business and price cutting by Dell, taken from CEO Mark Hurd's prepared remarks and the following Q&A session:

Mark Hurd

...Personal systems continued to post solid results, with revenue up 10% year over year to $7 billion. During the quarter, shipments grew 16% over the prior year period with double-digit unit growth in our consumer and our commercial businesses, and in every region.

Market growth continues to be led by the shift to mobility, strength in emerging markets, and consumers. These secular trends are clearly playing to our strengths, and in the second quarter we grew notebook shipments 48% year over year.

We also saw strength in our consumer business, with shipments up 30% over the prior year period.

The momentum is showing up in market share results. In the first calendar quarter, and according to preliminary estimates, HP gained 1.4 percentage points of share year over year on a worldwide basis, and 2 percentage points in the United States.

We continue to post solid margin expansion in personal systems, with second quarter operating profit of $248 million, or 3.6% of revenue, up from 2.3% in the prior year period. Given our focus on reducing our cost structure, coupled with our strength in notebooks, strong international presence and consumer presence, we are confident we can continue to show the appropriate balance between revenue growth and operating margins. However, I will ask you to bear in mind that the third fiscal quarter is our seasonally weakest quarter in personal systems.


Benjamin Reitzes - UBS Warburg

Good afternoon. Thanks a lot. I wanted to ask about pricing, Mark. What is in your guidance and thinking for pricing with regard to the PC market, as well as what you said about the Enterprise market, that you are going to make some pricing investments. In particular, you know we are all thinking about what Dell may do or may not do, and if you could make a comment on that particular situation, we would appreciate it as well.

Mark Hurd

Sure, I will give you the best I can. I mean, we -- first of all, let me make a statement. We are very focused on running a good business. Share for us is, while important, it is not the primary driver of how we think about the business, so we really do think about the business in the context of the improvement in overall profitability and our ability to be able to deliver great products and great services while we do it. We have seen continued aggression, so I do not think Q2 was much different than what we have seen over past several quarters in terms of aggressive price points, so we factored that into the model that we have given you in terms of Q3 guidance.

So the best I can tell you is in our Q3 guidance, both in the context of ISS and in the PC market is, our best view, where we have seen the market not only in Q2 but where we sit it in Q3, and given our emphasis as I described.

Benjamin Reitzes - UBS Warburg

Have you seen the market get more aggressive as we went throughout the quarter, or you thought it was pretty steady?

Mark Hurd

The only difference I would say, Ben, is that it has just always been aggressive. I hate to give you that answer, but it was an aggressive market in Q2, and we expect it to continue to be. So if your question is did I see an accentuation point at the tail end or somewhere in there, no, I did not see that, but I do not want you to take that as meaning -- this is an aggressive marketplace, and it has been aggressive for a while.


Keith Bachman - Banc of America

I was hoping you could talk a little bit more about the PC dynamics in terms of trying to separate out some of the opportunities or revenue growth that you had in the quarter from the U.S. versus the international market, and how, if any, the pricing dynamics differed there, because again, this actually relates back to Dell. I am just trying to understand what the future may hold here if Dell gets more aggressive on pricing.

Mark Hurd

You know, the best way I can describe it, Keith, is it was pretty balanced overall. It is pretty balanced overall -- that is the best I can give you. I cannot come up with a tremendous difference in geography. As I mentioned in my prepared comments, we had strong growth across really all geographies, and that is the way we saw it.

Bob Wayman

If you look at ASP's for personal systems, overall year over year we saw a 5% decline in ASP's, which is really very similar to what we saw in Q1. So there is just no news there. If you look at it by region, I am not going to give you the exact details, but there is not much deviation around that 5% by region.

Mark Hurd

There is just not much there, Keith. I mean, we had double-digit unit growth in every region. That is about all I can give you on it.

Excerpted from the full HP conference call transcript.

Full disclosure: Long Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) as of yesterday afternoon.