Seeking Alpha
We cover over 5K calls/quarter
Profile| Send Message|
( followers)  

Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ)

F2Q09 Earnings Call

May 19, 2009 5:00 pm ET

Executives

Jim Burns – Vice President, Investor Relations

Mark Hurd – President and Chief Executive Officer

Catherine Lesjak – Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Tony Sacconaghi - Sanford Bernstein

Brian Alexander - Raymond James

Ben Reitzes - Barclays Capital

Mark Moskowitz - J.P. Morgan

Richard Gardner - Citigroup

Scott Craig – Banc of America

David Bailey – Goldman Sachs

Kathryn Huberty - Morgan Stanley

Bill Shope - Credit Suisse

Maynard Um - UBS

Shannon Cross - Cross Research

Operator

Welcome to the second quarter 2009 Hewlett-Packard earnings conference call. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today’s call, Mr. Jim Burns, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please proceed, Sir.

Jim Burns

Good afternoon and welcome to our second quarter earnings conference call with Chairman and CEO, Mark Hurd and CFO, Cathy Lesjak. This call is being web cast and a replay of the web cast will be available shortly after the call for approximately one year.

Some information provided during this call may include forward-looking statements that are based on certain assumptions and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties and actual future results may vary materially. Please refer to the risks described in HP's SEC reports, including our Form 10Q for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2009.

The financial information discussed in connection with this call, including tax-related items, reflects estimates based on information available at this time and could differ materially from the amounts ultimately reported in HP's Form 10Q for the fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2009.

Earnings, operating margins and similar items at the company level are sometimes expressed on a non-GAAP basis and have been adjusted to exclude certain items including amortization of purchased intangibles, restructuring charges and acquisition related charges. The comparable GAAP financial information and a reconciliation of non-GAAP amounts to GAAP are included in the tables and in the slide presentation accompanying today’s earnings release both of which are available on the HP Investor Relations webpage at www.hp.com.

I’ll now turn the call over to Mark.

Mark Hurd

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us. In the second quarter Hewlett-Packard executed well in a tough market environment. We delivered revenue of $27.4 billion and non-GAAP EPS of $0.86. We effectively managed our inventory and generated a record $5 billion of cash flow from operations. The technology solutions group which now represents more than half of HP’s profits, had a solid quarter highlighted by strength in services.

The services business more than doubled profits to $1.2 billion and is now our largest segment. In technology services we are benefiting from advances in HP product quality and a more productive work force resulting in improved customer satisfaction. That said, we have more work to do to optimize our delivery model and that opportunity is good news for customers and shareholders.

The integration of EDS is going well and customers are responding favorably. We had a number of large signings this quarter and the pipeline has grown double digits since the deal closed. During the integration customer satisfaction has gone up. At the same time we are building a competitive cost structure and have now removed roughly half of the 25,000 headcount outlined in our September 2008 restructuring plan. Despite this progress we have the vast majority of EDS related savings ahead of us.

Across HP we are making good progress in our cost structure with transformations across virtually every function and business group. For example, we have significant opportunities as we bring EDS into our ongoing real estate transformation. By increasing utilization and leveraging a mobile work force we have identified additional annual savings of approximately $500 million beginning in 2012.

These savings are incremental to the plan we announced last September. This is one of many examples where we are dramatically changing the expense profile of the company and making steady progress towards our goal of having the industry’s best cost structure. We set this objective not only because of the benefit to our margins but also because our improved efficiency provides the platform from which we can invest and innovate for market success.

For example, this quarter PSG extended its share leadership by two points and captured the number one position in the U.S. and Asia Pacific. IPG which generates approximately 1/3 of our profits made good progress optimizing its owned and channel inventory and aligning them to the reduced demand environment. Despite the cyclical pressures impacting its growth, IPG continues to generate solid profits and cash flow demonstrating the strength of the business model.

We are performing well in high usage segments such as MFP’s, wireless and digital press and we are well positioned to lead the market transition to digital printing. HP is leveraging a broad patent portfolio to drive innovation that will shift trillions of printed pages from analog to digital devices. Once the economy fully recovers we expect IPG revenue to grow in the low to mid single digits.

We also continue to drive meaningful innovation across our product lines. This quarter we launched Matrix, converged blade servers and storage, virtual networking technology and software, delivering the industries first cloud infrastructure in a box. The solution, which saves customers significant money and dramatically reduces complexity, serves as an example of the power of HP’s integrated portfolio.

Before I turn the call over to Cathy to review the financials, let me reiterate the three reasons why I am confident that HP will emerge from the current market environment as a stronger force in the industry.

First, our broad market leading portfolio. HP has scaled services, software and hardware built upon open industry standards that differentiate us in the market place. We understand customer needs and can deliver integrated solutions today.

Second, our increasingly efficient cost structure. Our efficiency programs are significant and ongoing and our scale provides a sustainable competitive advantage.

Third, our track record of successful execution. As this quarter demonstrates we are executing in the market place, executing on the EDS integration and executing on our cost initiatives. Our goal is to maintain our strategy through this economic cycle by continuing to drive innovation, build sales and customer support and invest for growth. We have the opportunity to create a meaningful competitive advantage for years to come.

With that I will turn the call over to Cathy.

Catherine Lesjak

Thanks Mark. Good afternoon everyone. HP posted another solid quarter in Q2 fiscal 2009 and continues to demonstrate its ability to execute in both good and challenging markets. Our portfolio diversification, focus on innovation and operational excellence have enabled us to effectively deliver results to both customers and shareholders.

During today’s call I will recap our financial results for the second fiscal quarter and highlight some of the actions we have taken to position HP competitively when the economy recovers.

Total revenue for the second quarter including the EDS acquisition was down 3% year-over-year as reported and up 3% in constant currency. Looking at revenue by geography, including the addition of EDS Americas revenue increased 9% year-over-year, EMEA was down 11% and Asia Pacific decreased 10%. Excluding the effects of currency, revenue was up 12% in the Americas, down 2% in EMEA and down 5% in Asia Pacific. Overall, the Q2 performance in each region was similar to Q1.

Gross margins for the company were 23.5%, down 150 basis points from 25% one year ago. This decrease was driven by the addition of EDS which has lower gross margins as well as rate declines in our hardware businesses. Non-GAAP operating expenses for the quarter were $3.6 billion, down $643 million or 15% from a year ago despite absorbing EDS.

In addition to benefiting from the stronger dollar, this decline highlights work we have been doing for the last few years to make our cost structure leaner and more flexible and the actions we have taken to improve our competitiveness in the current environment.

While some of the actions we have taken on discretionary spending are, by their nature, temporary, we are making good progress in structurally improving our cost model and have line of sight to a significant amount of savings ahead of us.

Non-GAAP operating margin increased to 10.4% up from 10% in the prior year driven by strong expense management and solid contributions from services. On the bottom line this was offset by OI&E expense of $180 million primarily due to interest on our EDS related debt obligations as well as hedging losses.

All in all we delivered solid non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.86. Now moving on to the details of our performance by business. Services, including the addition of EDS, delivered revenue of $8.5 billion. On a year-over-year basis operating profit in the quarter more than doubled to $1.2 billion or 13.8% of revenues reflecting the addition of EDS and our sustained efforts in optimizing service delivery.

Drilling down into the services business, Q2 revenue was $3.8 billion in IT outsourcing, $2.4 billion in technology services, $1.5 billion in application services and $709 million in BPO. The EDS integration continues to go well. Customers see value in the EDS acquisition. We have a growing pipeline and had solid deal signings including a $1 billion deal with Aviva.

Enterprise storage and server revenue was $3.5 billion, down 28% year-over-year. Operating margin was 7.2% pressured by lower volumes, tough market conditions and the impact of the Cornell litigation charge. Revenue in business critical systems and industry standard servers each declined 29% year-over-year even as we gained share in x86 servers and maintained our market leadership.

Total storage revenue declined 22%. These results were driven primarily by unfavorable currency exchange rates and market conditions. HP software revenue declined 15% from the prior year to $880 million. BPO and other software revenues were each down 15% from the prior year. Support performance was solid across the portfolio reflecting strong maintenance renewals and a sustainable business value of our solutions.

For the quarter, software operating profit increased 51% from the prior year to $157 million or 17.8% of revenues. Personal systems delivered revenue of $8.2 billion, down 19% year-over-year and operating profit of $374 million or 4.6% of revenues.

Total unit shipments were roughly flat year-over-year with notebook unit growth up 14% offset by desktop systems decline of 13%. Average selling prices declined more steeply this quarter due to product mix, currency and a competitive environment. PSG continues to execute well in this challenging demand environment, gaining two full points of market share fueled by improvements in U.S. consumer and China.

Imaging and printing revenue for Q2 was $5.9 billion, down 23% year-over-year due to a tough economic environment. IPG delivered another quarter of operating profit in excess of $1 billion. Segment operating margin increased 220 basis points to 18.2% as favorable supply mix and cost reductions were partially offset by hardware rate declines.

Compared to the second quarter last year, total printing units declined 27% and consumer and commercial hardware units declined 23% and 26% respectively. Supplies revenue declined 14% due to lower end user demand and reductions in channel inventory. Last quarter we outlined several actions that IPG was taking to align its supply chain with lower demand. IPG made progress against these objectives with both owned and channel inventories down significantly since the end of Q1.

We continue to be the undisputed leader in printing with over twice the market share of our nearest competitor. We are investing in new innovation across the printing business that we expect will drive page growth and extend our leadership. Some of the more innovative investments include our retail publishing systems, TouchSmart technologies, the Indigo 6000 and new mobile and cloud printing technologies.

In addition, we demonstrated good momentum in wireless printing and managed print services in Q2. Rounding out the segments, HP financial services had revenue of $641 million, down 6% year-over-year due to unfavorable currency exchange rate impacts and generated operating margin of 7.2%.

Now on to the balance sheet and cash management. We closed the quarter with a strong balance sheet, increasing the total gross cash to $13 billion while reducing our total debt by $1.7 billion. Excluding the debt associated with our financing business we returned to a positive net cash position this quarter. Day sales outstanding increased to 48 days in Q2, up from 43 days one year ago and up from 46 days in Q1 2009.

Days payable was 49 days, down 6 days year-over-year and up one day sequentially. Owned inventory was down seven days year-over-year to 25 days and down six days sequentially reflecting good progress in aligning inventory to the demand environment.

With regard to channel inventory, each of our segments is within its target range. Compared with a year ago, ESS channel inventory was flat, PSG was up a week and IPG was up a half a week. We made significant progress in improving IPG’s channel inventory position in Q2 reducing it by one week sequentially.

Gross CapEx was $842 million, up 20% from the prior year period. On a net basis CapEx was $744 million, up 24% year-over-year. Increased capital expenditures were primarily related to growth in our leasing and outsourced services businesses including EDS.

Cash flow from operations grew $4 billion sequentially to $5 billion in Q2 with free cash flow increasing to $4.2 billion. Share repurchases in the second quarter totaled $801 million or approximately 44 million shares. At the end of the quarter we had roughly $7.1 billion remaining in the current share repurchase authorization.

Finally, we paid our normal quarterly dividend totaling $192 million. Before turning to our outlook for Q3 I wanted to provide an update on our restructuring activities. In September we outlined the details for the EDS integration with plans to achieve $2.5 billion in annual gross run rate savings once the integration is complete.

As the integration has progressed we have been able to further refine the real estate requirements of the combined company and as a result expect to achieve incremental annual savings of approximately $500 million beginning in 2012. This brings the total expected annual gross savings associated with the EDS acquisition to $3 billion. The incremental charges associated with the real estate transformation are expected to total approximately $1 billion including a $210 million charge to goodwill in Q2. The remainder of the charges will be recorded over the next 2.5 years as we cease to use the facilities.

In addition we will be taking some targeted actions to structurally change and improve the effectiveness of our product businesses. These actions will result in the elimination of approximately 2% of the HP workforce as we further streamline and simplify our organization and our supply chain. These actions will be implemented over the next 12 months after consultation with employee representatives where required.

As a result of these real estate and headcount actions we expect to record a charge of approximately $0.12 to $0.14 in the Q3 2009 GAAP P&L.

Now looking ahead to our outlook for Q3 and fiscal 2009. We expect Q3 fiscal 2009 revenues to be approximately flat to down 2% sequentially, in line with typical seasonality. For the full year we expect revenue to be down 4-5% including an unfavorable impact from currency exchange rates of approximately 6-7 percentage points.

Regarding earnings, there are a few variables to keep in mind. We expect OI&E expense of about $0.05 per quarter, a tax rate of approximately 21% and weighted average shares outstanding to be roughly flat in the second half of fiscal 2009.

With that in mind we expect third quarter non-GAAP EPS in the range of $0.88 to $0.90. For the full year our outlook for non-GAAP EPS remains unchanged in the range of $3.76 to $3.88 representing growth of 4-7% for the year.

We will now open the call to your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

(Operator Instructions) The first question comes from the line of Tony Sacconaghi - Sanford Bernstein.

Tony Sacconaghi - Sanford Bernstein

I was wondering if you could comment on just the overall market environment. Last quarter you said you expected revenues to decline -2 to -5%. You are now saying you expect revenues to decline -4 to -5% even though currency is actually going to be more favorable now than you anticipated before. Your outlook for the year has deteriorated yet you are guiding for normal seasonality. How do we reconcile those points? Do you think the market is actually worse than you had anticipated a quarter ago? Do you feel HP is less competitive in any way? How do we reconcile your guidance from last time versus now?

Mark Hurd

First of all, certainly we don’t think HP is less competitive. We think HP is more competitive. That would be how I feel about that point. I think we see the market as roughly the same. We are within the same revenue ranges we talked about before. Currency to us is still volatile so I wouldn’t say we have factored every currency spot rate into the number. This is more of a local comparison. Local currency sort of move to move. While we see at a macro level a couple of areas that we see some encouraging signs, I think that would be the right way for me to describe it, China was a little stronger than we have seen it. So we would look at that as good news.

We saw some slight improvement in U.S. consumer. So we would look at that as some good news. In terms of the rest of the market, I could tell you a lot of stories of a lot of signs but I am not ready to call it better beyond the two that I described to you. So I think you should view this as sort of steady as she goes. When you looked back 90 days ago, the quarter for us being Q2 that we just reported, behaved roughly as we expected. There were a few things here or there but generally it behaved at a macro level as we expected.

I would say we were a little better on the bottom line than we expected but the revenue top line was about as we expected and our view is that with the exception of a couple of places that I talked about it is roughly going to be the same the rest of the year. I think that is the way you should view our guidance. Currency tends to be a help. That is great. We are not really factoring in any major improvement in currency in anything we are seeing yet so far either.

Tony Sacconaghi - Sanford Bernstein

One quick follow-up. You commented a little bit on the quarter being in line with your expectations. I presume that means normal linearity. If I can just bring up one point I think IDC had said that your unit growth in PC’s from January to March was plus three. The unit growth you reported in PC’s was actually flat. If you took that data as sacrosanct, which I know it is not, it would actually suggest that at least in the PC market April was a little bit worse than January. Any comments on that data point specifically or linearity across businesses in the quarter?

Mark Hurd

As always I applaud you for your analytics. As you know it is just not that good. I mean in terms of the analytics. The IDC data has one dimension to it that requires a little bit more detail. I would not run there with your analysis. I would say your first point is the way to think about it. Linearity wise the quarter behaved roughly as we expected. So there is just absolutely no news I can give you in the context of linearity.

April did not look weaker on a relative basis than March or February. In fact, each month behaved roughly as we expected. I hate to make it sound like there is no news, but on the top line the quarter was frankly amazingly from where we were 90 days ago it behaved roughly as we expected. I think perhaps in the context of that it is good news. If you want to look for something that was at least predictable compared to the kind of environment we were actually going through in Q1 which was clearly more volatile.

Operator

The next question comes from Brian Alexander - Raymond James.

Brian Alexander - Raymond James

Just given the year-over-year decline of 7% and 14 you see over the last few quarters a little over 10% the first half of the year, what specific metrics do you track internally whether they be macro or micro in nature that might support your argument the declines you are seeing in the supplies business are entirely cyclical versus secular?

Mark Hurd

There is a lot of metrics we track. Obviously we track revenue performance. We track owned profit if you will. We track owned inventory and channel inventory, the aggregated supply chain across the business. We track not market share by segment. We track market share by country. It is a pretty thorough score card we track in the printing business. We obviously then look at it relative to our pools of the business which is graphics which is obviously a place where we have a lot of intellectual property, ink jet where we have a lot of intellectual property and then laser. We actually look across those three pools as well with the same metrics set.

With supplies I think you should expect probably in Q3 a bit more of what you saw in Q2 for us. There are some places that we did a very good job at IPG managing the collective owned inventory and channel inventory. We feel very good about that. There are some places that we would like to align the mix of hardware with supplies within the context of the channel inventory.

I also think in Q3 you should expect to see us go after a bit more share than what you saw in Q2. This was really interesting for us, one point that would be a little noticeable I thought in the quarter was we had some hardware situations where we had some outages and we could have shipped some more hardware units in the quarter than we did so we will try to take advantage of those opportunities from a market share perspective in Q3.

Let me just for a second though try to take you up a level and try to give you some context for how we look at the whole business. I think it is related to your point. Our view is the base business is slightly up over the long-term. Flat to slightly up would be the way I think about the entire printing segment. Digital printing content is growing. So the cyclical stuff we are seeing right now as we have talked about before is based on GDP and unemployment but secular changes that occur in printing which I have heard from several people which is there some big secular change in printing. Secular changes occur over years and decades and over very long periods.

Home photo printing, for example, is less than 10% of our supplies revenue. It is shifting to the web and it is shifting to retail locations as well as the home which is one of the reasons why you see HP investing in Snap Fish. It is one of the reasons why you see HP investing in retail photo kiosks. When things go to Snap Fish at Photobook, for example, is printed on an Indigo printer using HP intellectual property and HP ink.

When you go to a retailer and see an HP photo kiosk you are printing that on HP ink and HP intellectual property. The reason we build that strategy around pages is because we want to be where the consumer goes to print and so we are agnostic as to where the consumer goes to be able to get that photo printed.

We see that base business being again some good things and some things that perhaps are headwinds in terms of what the overall business looks like. So think of it this way, continued growth in printable content, a lot of movement from analog printing to digital. So there is a big market pull from analog printing to move to digital. Things like brochures, signage, labels, coupons, manuals, stuff like this is all stuff that is shifting from analog to digital giving us an opportunity for us to get more business.

At the same time digital printing is increasing and improving its ability to deliver quality, speed, it is lowering its cost and now it will shift to more applications to digital. So things like newspapers, directories, magazines and all these things have the opportunity to move to digital and then that gives us an opportunity for us to leverage our intellectual property.

When we look at the whole thing we say the base business is flat to up slightly and then we link our opportunity to gain share in the context of that hand that gets dealt to us.

Catherine Lesjak

Let me just add that we think that with the position that we have got, our technology road map and our strong competitive position, we will gain share in that market over the long-term when economies come back. That would allow us to grow this business in the low to mid single digits which Mark talked about earlier. I think the other thing I really want to make clear to folks is IPG today is roughly 1/3 of HP’s profit. That is a very different position that IPG is in today versus historically.

We have now got a much better balanced set of segments from a profitability perspective. You see services this quarter generating over $1 billion. $1.2 billion in operating profit and IPG had just over $1 billion. From a margins expectation perspective in the near-term we expect IPG margins to stay up in the high teens because we get such a high supplies mix. Over the longer term with us going out and gaining share again and getting the unit placement when the market turns around we expect it to basically go back to the more normal mid-teen range.

So that is really how you should think about this printing business. We are very well positioned for when the economies turn and we have this mix shift from analog to digital.

Mark Hurd

Probably more data than you were asking for, but I think it is important to set the context. If we look at the market as being a low single digit growth market and we like our opportunity to gain share within it. That is probably the point when we are dealing with some of the issues we had in Q1 where we get frustrated because we think the opportunities are marvelous one for us to take advantage of given our IT position, our share position, our brand position and the movement from analog to digital.

Operator

The next question comes from Ben Reitzes - Barclays Capital.

Ben Reitzes - Barclays Capital

I want to take the tack of revenue guidance minutia with a half-full view. You had way below seasonality the last two quarters including this one in terms of sequential trends. Now you are guiding normal sequential seasonality. You said you saw an up tick in China and Consumer in the U.S. but to get to normal seasonality with the deterioration you saw over the last two quarters doesn’t that mean that the rate of declines are going to get much better in ESS and printing? What are you seeing there to actually make things better on a year-over-year trend basis? To get to normal seasonality sequentially after two such downside on normal seasonality. By the way you are the only large tech company that I cover that is coming close to the consensus revenue for the current quarter. So I give you credit for that. Anyway, any views on that? Can you just mention how much the charge hurt earnings in the quarter? What would EPS have been without that Cornell litigation charge? Even without the hedging losses?

Catherine Lesjak

The Cornell charge was roughly $0.02. It was about $0.01 in operating profit and $0.01 in OI&E. That would be comparable to us delivering $0.88 versus the $0.86.

Mark Hurd

The $0.01 Cathy mentioned earlier, the penny in operating hit in ESS. So that is where it hit. I think there are merits to your points. I think as I mentioned to Tony’s question it is a more predictable environment than we had. That is your point. We are seeing some normal seasonality show up. I would add to it we have an EDS now inclusion in the company and their seasonality isn’t precisely what HP’s seasonality was so you have got a little bit of effect there. A calendar quarter so they both have a stronger Q4 and don’t have some of the Europe issues we have from a product perspective as Europe goes on vacation at least for some part of our Q3. So there is some of that in there.

I think your points are right. Again, we had a quarter where we looked at the numbers and the beginning of the quarter behaved roughly as we expected from a revenue perspective. There are many normal seasonality points that you see coming into the outlook we are describing to you. The only caution I give you is we are not forecasting any significant change in behavior because we just want to see more data before we feel good that there is any material improvement in the market.

What I do like about what is going on is our ability to align our cost with the demand we are having is proving to be very, very strong. I think operationally it has been a very good performance by our management team, certainly not me and not Cathy, but the people that are really running the business are doing a good job aligning that cost to the demand. Inside the demand that is handed to us in at least many important segments we are gaining share.

I think we like to Tony’s earlier question which I will say again we like our chances when the rebound does occur to be a major participant in the market when that occurs because of what we are doing right now. I say again that the winners when the rebound occurs are determined in the downturn. We like our position.

Operator

The next question comes from Mark Moskowitz - J.P. Morgan.

Mark Moskowitz - J.P. Morgan

I want to touch base on the EDS revenue profile if you could. I’m just trying to get a sense in terms of the runway you still have ahead of you in terms of the quality of the revenue. You mentioned the signings and the $1 billion plus deal. I’m just trying to get a sense of legacy deals. Are there certain under performing contracts that you are starting to prune that could really drive you to greater incremental leverage either later this year or next year from a margin perspective?

Mark Hurd

I’m going to do my best to be concise which is not my strength when talking about this subject. There is a lot of work we are doing at EDS to operationalize the business. I would say again the strength of EDS is absolutely superior service delivery to its customers. We believe it is the best service delivery organization on the planet. That is our belief. Our data supports that with the measurements we do. Now, we have work to do to align the cost with the revenue. So we have work to do to make sure we have a clear line of sight about why that cost is there and about why it supports what revenue and what service delivery. That is work that is ongoing.

Additionally, this is an organization that created most of its demand by picking up the telephone and hearing from a contract negotiator that a company was about to outsource. So if you think about it on its two extremes, we are trying hard to align the demand to get the leverage of the greater HP sales organization that is out in the field. You are beginning to see that occur in the funnel. That is exactly when I talk about the up tick in the funnel that is occurring that is because we are seeing more deals than EDS saw before because of our position in the market place through our sales force.

Secondly, the integration you are seeing and the work that Cathy and I talked about in terms of the number of people that have left the business, there is work far beyond that. We gave you the real estate example earlier which is continuing to align the overhead structure, the cost that sits inside EDS that does not specifically support service delivery and then the alignment of the specific service delivery itself. We are working all of those simultaneously.

I will just say one more time which I think I said earlier, the best days of our performance in our services business are ahead of us with the work we have to get done. I can tell you happy as I was when we announced the EDS deal, as optimistic as I think Cathy and I were in August of last year, I would say we are even more positive on it today than we were at that point. We have a lot more work to do. So I’m not here trying to tell you it is done by any means. Signs of progress are there.

Catherine Lesjak

I would also add that when you think about the cost savings opportunities and the margin improvement that we have seen year-over-year in services that really came from both the traditional HP services business as well as the EDS side of the house. In fact, they both equally contributed to that performance. That is really because we are in kind of the mid-inning I would say on the transformation with respect to the HP traditional services and we are in very early innings to Mark’s point on the EDS opportunities from the savings perspective. That is with 190 basis points improvement year-over-year in operating margin.

The other thing I just wanted to add to Mark’s point on the customer side is that while we are ahead on the integration and it has obviously ramifications for individuals of EDS, customer satisfaction is up. Customers like the acquisition and they are continuing to be delighted by the EDS side of the house. It is really an all around good story.

Operator

The next question comes from Richard Gardner – Citigroup.

Richard Gardner - Citigroup

I think on the last call you talked about the inventory correction potentially taking up to two quarters or a quarter and a half to get done. Can you talk about whether you ended the quarter with more or less inventory than you wanted? In other words was the inventory correction in the quarter bigger or smaller than what you had expected? Do you believe that levels are where you need them to be at this point?

Catherine Lesjak

Let me first talk about owned inventory because it may not have been clear on the last call. We expected that we could correct and get our owned inventory in good shape in the quarter and we did that. We made great improvement on the channel side. We are now within our target range and so we feel good about that. It is now really about optimizing the mix underneath. There are going to be some countries that are not exactly the way we want them to be. There will be some locations where we have more hardware than supplies or vice versa. So there is still some optimization that needs to take place. We made the progress that we had hoped to make.

Mark Hurd

I think you got about as good an answer as you would have got from me. That is exactly where we are. I think it is probably a good move. We just have to optimize, to Cathy’s point, by country, by SKU number and within the quarter probably the only thing I would say was a bit of a surprise to us in IPG was that there was more demand on the hardware side than we could fulfill and part of that was because we were adjusting our inventory. That’s why I say in Q3 you will see us get a little more aggressive on the market share side. That is what you would expect.

I would say what happens to us in IPG, we have quarters like we had in Q1 and we have to go back and do what we did. I think overall good score card on that aspect of it in Q2 for sure.

Richard Gardner - Citigroup

If I could ask two quick follow-up’s. The inventory situation, is that part of the reason you are confident in normal seasonality for the third quarter because I know that Europe is typically tough during the June/July time frame and we have actually heard from a number of your distribution partners talk about Europe continuing to deteriorate at the margin. I guess as a follow-up to the inventory question I’m wondering what gives you comfort to guide to normal seasonality for the third quarter? Also, I was hoping you could give us a sense of whether distributors in emerging markets which I guess were really dramatically reducing their supplies inventory to free up working capital whether they started to come back and order again?

Jim Burns

Why don’t you pick one of those questions to ask. We are not allowing multiple questions.

Richard Gardner - Citigroup

Let’s go with the guidance question.

Catherine Lesjak

At some level the normal seasonality really depends on the mix of your business. We have a bigger services mix this year than we have traditionally. That gives us some more normal seasonality relative to HP historically. Then there are different stories kind of underneath that normal seasonality. Obviously EDS gives us a fair amount of cover because it is a more linear business which Mark commented on when we talked about, I think we answered this question earlier.

Mark Hurd

Back to your point on IPG too clearly it is one of the reasons we wanted to get the work done in Q2 to give us the room to be able to take advantage of some of the market dynamics that unfolded. You have got a little bit of disparity now between some of the things going on in Asia, some of the things going on in the U.S. and some of the things to your point going on in Europe. We want the opportunity, to the point Cathy made, to say let’s get this thing instrumented right now at a lower level of detail so we take advantage of what we think is a pretty big opportunity. You have to remember in our ecosystem it is not just the consumer ink jet and laser jet stuff it is also the graphics piece. We are very riveted on the places we have extremely strong IT portfolios. For us it is not just getting the channel inventory right, in the consumer side, it is making sure we have our digital plusses and everything lined up too.

Part of what we do to your point is to free up capital and room so that we can take advantage of market opportunities. In Q1 we got ourselves in a position where we just didn’t have as much flexibility as Cathy and I would have liked. That is why we needed to do the work in Q2 to be in a position to be able to take advantage of it in Q3.

Operator

The next question comes from Scott Craig – Banc of America.

Scott Craig – Banc of America

With regard to cash flow and the guidance you are giving on the top line and on the bottom line can you take us through where you think cash flow plays out over the course of the year and maybe some of the working capital ranges around that you think are going to be appropriate?

Catherine Lesjak

We had a great quarter from a cash flow ops perspective. I think we told you in the call last quarter it was going to snap back and it certainly snapped. We also last quarter, and I will reiterate this quarter, believe that we will have a strong FY09 cash flow from operations year as well. Part of that is going to come from the fact that our cash conversion cycle does have some opportunity to improve a bit. That improvement will come predominately in the inventory as we streamline our supply chain a bit more this year and frankly it will continue into next year. The opportunities we have in some of our supply chains, specifically in IPG, are going to continue into next year.

So that will give us some improvement there. You should expect to see a bit better on days of inventory. From a DSO perspective, kind of roughly where we are is what you should expect. The same pretty much on the payables side. We have done a really good job and it is not as evident because we don’t produce numbers that normalize for EDS but the BPO is actually up two days year-over-year when you normalize for EDS. So we are really making good progress in managing our payables as well.

We are doing all of this as well as doing those transactions that help us leverage our balance sheet that drive economic value for the company. I think that is probably an underlying story that we don’t tell enough. To be able to do as well as we have been doing on the cash conversion cycle and take advantage of these opportunities is really a testament to how well we are managing the company.

Operator

The next question comes from David Bailey – Goldman Sachs.

David Bailey – Goldman Sachs

Switching to PC’s you continue to gain share but your op margins are also coming down. How do you think about the trade off between market share and profitability in PC’s at this point?

Mark Hurd

We think about it. We are not really pricing that aggressively in the market. I wouldn’t say we have gone out, to your point, I know we have gained share. It isn’t our objective necessarily. We try to run a good solid business. What is going on inside PSG has more to do with currency being an effect on the business and frankly it is the mix of what is being sold skewing, and this is like a more highly configured notebook being a little less highly configured. A highly configured desktop being a little less highly configured. So we have got sort of a SKU shifting occurring where what we see is customers just buying what they have to buy to get the job done.

That is more of an effect than say an aggressive pricing environment. In the traditional way that might be asked. I think for us we look at a 5.0 last quarter or a 4.6 this quarter is pretty good performance considering a 19% revenue decline. Again, just to give you some context the way I look at PSG here is a group 19% down, to your point gaining share while they do it, delivering to the company a cash conversion cycle which is reminiscent of their growth days in terms of operating performance continuing to deliver a strong return on invested capital and delivering I would say at least reasonable op margins given the fact that you have this skewing going on what is going on with the mix within the revenue portfolio.

So, I tend to look at PSG as pretty strong at the current time. They took the share lead in the two regions that we didn’t have the lead in the quarter. Again, that is not the objective, it is the result of doing business fundamentals pretty well.

David Bailey – Goldman Sachs

As you look forward do you expect that SKU to continue to come down and margins to continue to come down or do you think it is probably stabilized?

Mark Hurd

Like we said with everything in the quarter you saw you had some similarity in Q2 to what you saw in Q1. We didn’t see the volatility into Q2 if you look at it sequentially from what we saw in Q1. We are predicting again more of the same as we look out over the course of the year as opposed to it changing to the negative.

Operator

The next question comes from Kathryn Huberty - Morgan Stanley.

Kathryn Huberty - Morgan Stanley

HP customers haven’t spent this little on servers and storage in the April quarter since before the Contact acquisition. I would love your perspective on how long you think corporate can delay spending and if there are any anecdotes you have picked up that at least it won’t get worse from here and maybe even it starts to get better.

Mark Hurd

It is a question we talk about it all the time. It is exactly the right question. We have customers that tell me they are just delaying as long as they can until they have to buy. We have a pretty good model that looks at what those time frames are that people can put things off to and you have got customers and remember particularly in enterprise, most customers start planning their fiscal years in September/October and make some tweaks to it in November and December before the year starts.

My view is the fact you don’t see any catalyst, material catalyst that will change the 2009 trajectory in enterprise spending is probably not realistic. Most of these companies fixed on their budget. In order for that CapEx budget to go up, most of the companies doing the buying have to have some change in their plan. I think the more important question is what are those planning sessions looking like in August and September of 2009 about 2010? I think there is a chance if people see any meaningful catalyst that some people say listen if Q4 is getting a little better maybe we will pull something from 2010 into the fourth quarter of 2009.

I think that is more likely what is going to happen. I think CIO’s have been giving marching orders and saying take that infrastructure, keep the infrastructure running. If you have to replace things to keep things running, replace it. New projects, be very particular about new projects that you start and if you can avoid starting a project avoid starting it.

I think that is what is going on. To your point there are some enterprises that are struggling with not having to do replacements and that is where you see some of the business coming from. So there will be a pop. I think it is more the time frames I am describing to you though.

Operator

The next question comes from Bill Shope - Credit Suisse.

Bill Shope - Credit Suisse

We had some major shifts in the enterprise segment obviously as of late, Cisco getting into servers, Oracle planning on tying up with Sun, etc. Can you give us a sense of how you see HP’s strategy fitting into this landscape over time and perhaps ways the strategy may have to evolve?

Mark Hurd

Oracle is a strong partner of HP and we do a lot of stuff together. We build a joint product that we go to market with called Exadata and we have just done more and more together over the past several years. We think we have a very strong partnership and we expect that to continue. When you look at the greater enterprise, again maybe we ought to be clear about our strategy. We continue to see the enterprise with being very much an industry standard, common components based environment. When you look at the server market, the server market and storage market, the networking market all look sort of similar when you look at them from a revenue and a market sizing perspective but have very different margin profiles.

The gross margin of the industry in storage are exponentially higher than those of servers. The gross margin in networking market is exponentially higher than that of storage. We see that entire market being built off a series of standard components that you would think of today being PC components. Think of it as scaled, tens of billions of dollar supply chain of common industry components, not just silicone but hard disk drives, memory, power supply, etc. feeding whether that is a PC, an industry standard server, a blade, a storage array or a networking device.

The fact that you have to have tremendous scale and yet the unique of common components and yet the unique capability to take into one of these individualized products and yet simultaneously, as we did with Matrix, integrate them into a common platform. So for us it is very important to continue to build out that ecosystem and gain the leverage of that scale. Anybody who wants to get into that fight, you have got to be able to fight against that whole PC scale, that server scale, the storage scale and the network scale and you have to be able to take a common component.

Just to give you one anecdote, if you look back two years ago our storage componentry was less than 35% that was common components. We believe over time we can do more than double that using the same components, I think more than double that, off common components that you would think of today as being part of a PC.

In the context of companies that are able to go grab that scale and leverage off that ecosystem we are excited and ready to get after it.

Catherine Lesjak

It is not just about scale and standard componentry. It is also about kind of wrapping it with software and other IT as well as services in order to deliver the entire package. Modernizing the data center is not just about piece parts. It is about being able to put them all together with unique IT to run, automate and service the data centers.

Mark Hurd

For us, we are trying to then put on top of these common capabilities management software, data center automation, server management, storage management, etc. and then be able to deliver the services enough to be able to run it which is why we have done what we have done. Continue to build scale in our industry standards business across all of those categories, support it with a software strategy and support it with a services strategy.

When you net it all out we feel pretty good about our position. We will have to execute and show that it all comes together in a way that is meaningful improvement for the company and shareholders.

Catherine Lesjak

It is also moving up the margin stack for HP. So it is going to have good benefit to gross margins too as we execute.

Mark Hurd

We just like the opportunity to move up the margins. We think there is more for us to go get and not just the revenue pile or market sizes look roughly the same. The margin pools look very different. So for us we think that is up side.

Operator

The next question comes from Maynard Um – UBS.

Maynard Um - UBS

I think you may have touched on this but I just want to make sure I was clear. As it relates to the U.S. and China can you distinguish between inventory restocking and end demand? There has obviously been a lot of news flow talking about [between] and de-stocking during the holidays. So this quarter may have benefited from a rebalancing and your comments I think clearly pointed to the April quarter from a U.S. and China demand but can you just clarify if you comments include what you are seeing in the market today and relative to other markets outside of U.S. and China? I know you don’t want to call a turn but do you think you might call it or couch it as a stabilization is occurring?

Mark Hurd

I think what I’m going to do is stick with what I said. We saw improvement in China and it was material. We saw improvement in U.S. consumer that I wouldn’t say was as material but we could see the improvement. That is meant to be a demand point, not a stocking point or anything along those lines. The rest of the market, again I could tell you a lot of stories about different markets in the Nordics versus Spain versus this, I just think we are going to need another quarter of data to be able to really make a meaningful statement about any up turn or anything like that. I think our guidance alone shows you more predictability in what we are giving you. Our guidance is meant to be sort of a steady as she goes guidance relative to what we gave you before.

There will always be some puts and takes but at the company level we think pretty solid relative to what we did in the quarter. That is where I will leave it.

Operator

The next question comes from Shannon Cross - Cross Research.

Shannon Cross - Cross Research

As you are thinking about and working through the EDS integration, trying to pay down debt this quarter, you have about $1 billion cash net of HPFS, can you talk a little bit about your appetite for acquisitions? What you are thinking about the market and just any thoughts you have on that?

Mark Hurd

We are trying to get our analyst day lined up so that we can give you meaningful co-forward guidance on your models and where we are taking the company. It was suggested in a note that I got that we moved the analyst day because we are looking at some large transformational acquisition.

Shannon Cross - Cross Research

Would you like to tell us what it is now?

Mark Hurd

Let me be clear, all jokes aside, let me be clear. That is not why the analyst day meeting was moved. We moved the analyst day because we want to give you more information, not less. We want to give you more insight into where we are going, not more [sic]. The timing didn’t give us the opportunity to give us much forward looking guidance as we would like. There is no connection, no thing that aligns some large transformational acquisition with some moving of the analyst day and any help you could give me in the small conversation we are having to make sure that message gets out I would sure appreciate it.

Shannon Cross - Cross Research

I think you just did. Any thoughts going forward on acquisitions just in general?

Mark Hurd

We try to be very disciplined as I think we have always been. I hope raising the point about EDS shows we think we are pretty thoughtful when we try to acquire something. We try to make sure something fits strategically, it fits operationally and it makes sense financially. We will continue that. Right now we are very focused on running the company, taking advantage operationally of what we think are some pretty significant opportunities for when this thing does turn to take advantage of it. As I hope you can see by what has gone on in the quarter we have been very focused on our cost initiatives, very focused on integrating EDS and getting that right. We have been working on our cash flow and we just think it makes darn good sense to improve our cash position as time goes on. I would not read anything more into it than us just trying to run the company in the best way that we can and optimize our position.

That is the way I think I will answer it.

Maybe we will close up here. Let me just summarize quickly on the quarter. I think the company executed well in I will at least say a challenging environment. We are working hard to align our assets and our cost structure to the demand environment that we are handed and generate solid earnings and cash flow. We have good strength in services. It is our largest profit driver today with significant opportunity as we talked about for us to increase the contribution going forward.

While market conditions are still tough, we feel very well positioned given our broad portfolio, our global reach, our scale, we have talked about our share performance in many segments. We have confidence in our EPS guidance with the revenue ranges that we have provided given all the cost savings and the opportunities from the EDS integration and our diverse and recurring business mix.

That is where we will leave it today and we look forward to talking to you again soon. Thank you.

Operator

We thank you for your participation in today’s conference. This does conclude your presentation. You may now disconnect and have a great day.

Copyright policy: All transcripts on this site are the copyright of Seeking Alpha. However, we view them as an important resource for bloggers and journalists, and are excited to contribute to the democratization of financial information on the Internet. (Until now investors have had to pay thousands of dollars in subscription fees for transcripts.) So our reproduction policy is as follows: You may quote up to 400 words of any transcript on the condition that you attribute the transcript to Seeking Alpha and either link to the original transcript or to www.SeekingAlpha.com. All other use is prohibited.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HERE IS A TEXTUAL REPRESENTATION OF THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S CONFERENCE CALL, CONFERENCE PRESENTATION OR OTHER AUDIO PRESENTATION, AND WHILE EFFORTS ARE MADE TO PROVIDE AN ACCURATE TRANSCRIPTION, THERE MAY BE MATERIAL ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INACCURACIES IN THE REPORTING OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE AUDIO PRESENTATIONS. IN NO WAY DOES SEEKING ALPHA ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS MADE BASED UPON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEB SITE OR IN ANY TRANSCRIPT. USERS ARE ADVISED TO REVIEW THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S AUDIO PRESENTATION ITSELF AND THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S SEC FILINGS BEFORE MAKING ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS.

If you have any additional questions about our online transcripts, please contact us at: transcripts@seekingalpha.com. Thank you!

Source: Hewlett-Packard Company F2Q09 (Qtr End 4/30/09) Earnings Call Transcript

Check out Seeking Alpha’s new Earnings Center »

This Transcript
All Transcripts