No sign of turnaround yet, HP's Fiorina warns

While Hewlett-Packard sees signs of stabilisation in the US economy, there is no indication of a pickup, HP chairman and chief...

While Hewlett-Packard sees signs of stabilisation in the US economy, there is no indication of a pickup, HP chairman and chief executive officer Carly Fiorina told financial analysts at a meeting in New York yesterday.

Nevertheless, HP is confident it can continue growing by expanding its share of the technology market.

"We don't need IT spending to grow. We need customers to spend more of their IT dollars on us," Fiorina said.

HP's revenue is on track to reach $36.6bn in the second half of its 2003 fiscal year, a 6% increase on the same period last year.

Fiorina said HP's  "adaptive enterprise" strategy helping the company to realise its Compaq-merger goal of lifting itself into the top echelon of IT companies.

"We're now moving to a whole new level of conversation with CEOs and CIOs," she added.

Executives particularly singled out HP's advances in the services market. Citing HP's recent win of a $3bn outsourcing contract from Procter & Gamble, executive vice president of HP Services Ann Livermore said the company has now demonstrated that it can compete against anyone to win "megadeals".

Fiorina fielded a question from an analyst about HP's interest in another acquisition of a large company, one with thousands of employees and more than $1bn in annual revenue. 

She answered that the size of a deal should not be a factor in decisions about acquisitions; what matters is that the buyout fills a strategic gap.

Adding the caveat that her willingness to speculate about acquisitions is no indication of anything in the works, Fiorina said software and services remain the areas in which she would consider going shopping.

"Certainly from a readiness point of view, we are now ready to take on more than we were a year ago, because we have the bulk of [integrating Compaq] behind us," she said.

Stacy Cowley writes for IDG News Service

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