HP CEO Dion Weisler on pulling through tough markets

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HP CEO Dion Weisler on pulling through tough markets
Dion Weisler

HP Inc. chief executive Dion Weisler delivered a confident message about his company Wednesday, even as weak PC and printer markets continue to put revenue pressure on the vendor.

"The markets will continue to be pressured through the year," Weisler told analysts during a conference call to discuss the company's earnings for its fiscal 2016 third quarter, which ended 31 July. "But we have an incredibly strong portfolio, and costs are well under control. Execution, and an innovation agenda with sprinkles of magic, is what makes the differentiation for our customers, and that's what we're focused on."

The company made what Weisler called "solid progress" - a phrase he also used in the second-quarter earnings call in May - and continued to reverse revenue declines that have haunted the firm for several quarters.

The third-quarter numbers were released Wednesday after US stock markets closed. The company's stock closed for the day at US$14.40 a share before falling nearly six percent in after-hours trading.

"I'm really confident in our future," Weisler said. "We delivered solid progress, and while the markets remain challenged, and we have more work to do, we are executing to our strategies of growth and long-term success. It's been almost one year since separation [from what is now Hewlett Packard Enterprise], and we're really seeing the ability to run ahead with more speed and agility."

Weisler's mantras were "taking costs out of the system," and taking advantage of "the strongest portfolio we've had in decades." On the other side of the cost reductions are initiatives like PC-as-a-service, and its "instant ink" line, which allows customers to buy ink on a subscription basis.

Revenue for the third quarter was US$11.9 billion, a four percent decline year over year. The company reported a profit of US$783 million for the quarter, an eight percent decline from the same period a year ago. But its earnings per share of 49 cents from continuing operations was up a dime from the same quarter last year and beat the company's outlook of 40 to 43 cents.

Still, the revenue decline was an improvement over the steep, double-digit declines HP faced in recent quarters. HP's PC business was flat year over year while its printer business declined about 14 percent. Weisler said the declines in the printer business were expected, and that the company had returned US$300 million to shareholders during the quarter and continued its US$1 billion cost-savings initiative.

"Our strategy has always been the same," Weisler said. "We're after profitable growth, and we run a highly disciplined approach. We're taking costs out; we're finding the heat in the market today, and we're finding where the heat is going to be and skating to the puck."

One thing Weisler did not mention was HP's efforts in the A3 printer market. HP has indicated that it would disrupt the market for high-priced A3 printers, and has targeted 2017 as the kickoff for the new products, as well as a new go-to-market strategy for selling an A3 line.

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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