Pandemic boosts sales for Dell and HP as revenues exceed estimates

Customers upgrade personal computers for remote work and school


Dell and HP have reported quarterly revenue that topped Wall Street estimates, lifted by customer upgrades of personal computers for remote work and school during the pandemic.

Dell’s sales climbed 2.8 per cent to $23.5 billion (€19.7 billion) in the period that ended October 30th, the Texas-based company said on Tuesday in a statement.

Rival HP reported it shipped a record 19 million PCs in its recent quarter, as well as more home printers than it had sold in years. HP also gave a profit forecast for the current period that beat analysts’ projections and said it would raise its quarterly dividend by 10 per cent.

Michael Dell and HP chief executive officer Enrique Lores are trying to revamp their PC makers into more profitable businesses. Both companies have taken steps to cut operating expenses during the pandemic, and they produced better-than-projected profits in the October quarter.

Billionaire Dell is trying to spur more predictable, recurring revenue by letting corporate clients pay for products over time rather than upfront. Mr Lores, meanwhile, is overseeing a corporate restructuring that will result in lower expenses and a smaller workforce.

“We are very optimistic about where the company is going to be going during the next quarters and years,” Mr Lores said in an interview.

HP shares gained about 5 per cent in New York trading, helped by the company’s announcement that it would boost the quarterly dividend to 19.38 cents a share. Dell shares fell roughly 2 per cent. The stock is up more than 30 per cent so far this year.

HP’s revenue fell about 1 per cent to $15.3 billion in the period ending October 31st, the California-based company said in a statement. Analysts, on average, expected $14.7 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit, excluding some items, was 62 cents a share in the fourth fiscal quarter, while analysts projected 52 cents.

Adjusted profit in the current quarter will be 64 cents to 70 cents a share, HP said. Analysts, on average, estimated 54 cents.

Business and government sales

Dell’s sales from consumer PCs jumped 14 per cent to $3.5 billion in the fiscal third quarter, the company said. PC sales to business and government clients increased 5.4 per cent to $8.78 billion. Server and networking sales fell 1.8 per cent to $4.16 billion, the seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines for the unit. Executives said they expected continued “soft” data-centre spending in the current period. Storage hardware revenue declined 7 per cent to $3.86 billion.

“I’m generally pleased with how the business performed,” Dell chief financial officer Tom Sweet said in an interview. “We’ve got to continue to work our way through the uncertain environment. Given our broad, diversified portfolio, we have an ability to drive a consistent stable cash flow, consistent results.”

Sales of HP’s personal systems, mostly computers, were little changed from a year earlier at $10.4 billion. Revenue from consumers jumped 24 per cent while business sales decreased 12 per cent. Printing revenue declined 3 per cent to $4.8 billion. The company reported a 21 per cent rise in consumer hardware sales and a 22 per cent drop in hardware revenue from businesses.

While corporate customers aren’t buying printers with their offices closed or at reduced capacity, Mr Lores said demand from consumers working at home was so strong that HP shipped 12 million printers in the quarter – the highest number since the corporate split from Hewlett Packard in 2015. - Bloomberg