Hewlett Packard profits up on company spending

Hewlett Packard chief executive, Leo Apotheker
Image caption They are HP's first results since Leo Apotheker left rival SAP to become the company's new head

The world's biggest personal computer maker, Hewlett Packard (HP), has reported a 5% rise in profits, thanks to strong corporate spending.

The company made a stronger-than-expected $2.5bn (£1.6bn) in earnings for the three months to October, and upped its profit forecast for 2011.

The result was driven by growth in commercial PC and printers sales of over 20% versus a year ago.

PC sales to consumers in contrast were down 10%, and printer sales down 2%.

Markets pleased

Total net revenues for the quarter were $33.3bn, up 8% from a year ago, according to HP's announcement.

This was higher than market expectations of $32.75bn. Earnings per share for the quarter also surprised on the high side, at $1.33 compared with an expected $1.27.

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HP's share price rose 1.1% in informal trading after the results were announced following the close of official trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

It follows a three-day rally that had already pushed the company's value up 5.5%.

It is the company's first results announcement since appointing Leo Apotheker as its new chief executive.

The company poached its new German boss from rival SAP in September.

It followed the summer departure of former chief executive Mark Hurd amid an internal investigation over sexual harassment claims, although Mr Hurd denied any wrongdoing.

Mr Hurd has since accepted a position as co-president at Oracle, leading HP to file a lawsuit against him over fears he will divulge intellectual property to its rival.

Mr Apotheker has been continuing an acquisition growth strategy begun under his predecessor.

Purchases this year include security software firm ArcSight (for $1.5bn), data storage company 3Par ($2.1bn), and network infrastructure manufacturer 3Com ($2.7bn).

The 3Com acquisition was responsible for a three-fold increase in HP's networking business line.

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