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Hewlett-Packard PC Segment Sales Rise 9%

Heralding record revenue in all of its seven business segments, computer and printer maker Hewlett-Packard claimed an 8 percent increase in consolidated revenue and a 26.5 percent rise in net income for its fiscal fourth quarter.

Consolidated revenue for the three months, ended Oct. 31, increased to $21.4 billion, up from $19.9 billion in the same quarter in 2003. Net income rose to $1.1 billion, compared with a year-earlier $862 million.

HPs personal systems group, namely its PC segment, recorded fourth-quarter revenue of $6.5 billion, a 9 percent rise over the $6 billion reported in the same three months last year. The segment was led by a 4 percent rise in consumer sales and a 12 percent increase in commercial sales.

Earnings from operations in the PC segment jumped to $78 million in the fourth quarter, registering a 1.2 percent operating profit margin, and more than tripling the $22 million notched in the same quarter a year earlier. HP said this was the segment’s strongest profit performance in four years.

The PC segment reported unit growth of 11 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to last year, reflecting stable average selling prices. Desktop revenue climbed 6 percent year-over-year, with notebook revenue rising 12 percent.

The HP imaging and printing segment also reported $6.5 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, a 5 percent rise over the same three months in 2003. Earnings in the three months moved upward to $1.1 billion from a year-ago $1 billion, a quarterly record, which represented a 16.6 percent operating profit margin, compared with 14.8 percent in the prior quarter.

During the fourth quarter, HP said it shipped 14 million printers, its strongest volume quarter ever. However, home hardware revenue slipped 2 percent, with all-in-one unit sales growth offset by declining single-function printers and price erosion. Supplies revenue grew by 8 percent year-on-year, fueled by strong growth in color printing.

For the 12 months, HP revenue increased 9 percent, reaching $80 billion, compared with last year’s $73.1 billion. Net earnings hit $3.5 billion for the year, up from $2.5 billion a year ago.