Carly Fiorina is out and Mark Hurd is in as CEO at Hewlett-Packard
HP enjoyed a good quarter. Revenues rose 7%, to record levels -- a modest increase, but it certainly beat IBM's
Listen to the conference call. It's too early in the process for Hurd to have made a difference in reported performance. HP made the usual statements: There's a lot of work ahead; the fundamentals are in place; employees want to succeed; HP is a strong brand; there is a strong balance sheet and lots of cash. This isn't news, just a testament that Fiorina didn't run HP into the ground -- and that the business performed well without a long-term CEO at the controls.
Hurd did say this: He wants to drive growth by lowering costs. An increase in margins may result, and the customer might also enjoy some of the cost savings. That's great to hear, but it's Business 101.
There are many challenges. For example, printers -- a gold mine at HP -- are being challenged by Motley FoolStock Advisor recommendation Dell
The company's earnings guidance for the current quarter is $0.29 to $0.31 a share, below the $0.32 analysts estimated. That's no big deal. The new CEO is expected to make changes that will affect operations; earnings will weaken as a result.
Let's give Hurd a chance and look at fiscal year 2006, which ends in October 2006. HP is priced at 13.5 times analysts' 2006 earnings estimates. That estimate is based on a 12.8% increase in year-over-year earnings, assuming HP hits analyst targets for the current year, which depends on expected restructuring costs. If Hurd is a skipper capable of getting HP into sailing trim, there is a big opportunity for a positive earnings surprise and a multiple far greater than the current, modest 13 times.
Hurd has spoken. If you think his instincts are correct, HP is bargain-priced.
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