HP profit climbs 28 percent as company raises outlook again

Printer, industry-standard server and PC businesses report strong growth

Hewlett-Packard's first-quarter profit increased by 28 percent from a year earlier as growth returned to some of its core businesses, prompting the company to raise its forecast for the fiscal year.

HP's profit for the quarter ended Jan. 31 was US$2.3 billion, up from $1.9 billion in the same quarter last year. Revenue increased by 8 percent to $31.2 billion, HP announced Wednesday.

The company's printer, industry-standard server and PC businesses all reported revenue growth, HP said -- a turnaround from last quarter, when sales declined in almost all of its main business segments. Revenue from HP's giant services segment decreased by 1 percent, however, to $8.7 billion.

"HP is well-positioned to outperform the market," HP Chairman and CEO Mark Hurd said in a statement. "The strength of our portfolio, leaner cost structure and accelerating market momentum give us the confidence to raise our full-year outlook."

Excluding one-time items, HP reported pro forma earnings of $1.10 per share, up from $0.93 a year earlier. Analysts had expected pro forma earnings of $1.06 per share on revenue of $30.01 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

The results are another sign that parts of the tech industry are emerging from the recession. Last month IBM reported its first quarterly revenue increase in more than a year, and said profits were up 10 percent from a year earlier.

HP had indicated that conditions were improving late last year, when it raised its revenue target slightly for fiscal 2010, to between $118 billion and $119 billion.

On Wednesday it raised the outlook again, this time by a larger amount. It now expects full year revenue for fiscal 2010 of between $121.5 billion and $122.5 billion, the company said.

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James Niccolai

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