HPE Earnings Not Enough to Offset CEO Shuffle

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE: HPE) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Tuesday. The company said that it had $0.29 in earnings per share (EPS) and $7.8 billion in revenue, compared with consensus estimates that called for $0.28 in EPS and $7.71 billion in revenue. The same period from last year had $0.23 in EPS and $7.3 billion in revenue.

Although the company beat estimates on both the top and bottom line, the overriding story seemed to be that Meg Whitman would be stepping down as CEO. In her place, Antonio Neri, current President of HPE, will become President and Chief Executive Officer, and will join the HPE Board of Directors, effective February 1, 2018.

The Enterprise Group posted revenues of $6.9 billion, flat year over year, up 1% when adjusted for currency, with a 10.6% operating margin. Servers revenue was down 5%, Storage revenue was up 5%, Networking revenue was up 21%, and Technology Services revenue was up 2%.

Financial Services revenue was $1.0 billion, up 24% year over year, net portfolio assets were up 1%, and financing volume was flat year over year. The business delivered an operating margin of 7.7%.

In terms of the outlook, HPE expects to see EPS in the range of $0.20 to $0.24 in the fiscal first quarter of 2018. There are consensus estimates calling for $0.28 in EPS and $7.15 billion in revenue.

Meg Whitman, CEO of HPE, commented:

With strong top line revenue growth, earnings above our previous outlook and our second consecutive quarter of sequential margin improvement, our fourth quarter results are a reflection of the progress we have made over the past two years to transform HPE into a nimble, focused and innovative organization. Today, HPE has a very strong balance sheet, an industry-leading product portfolio and a world-class leadership team ready to drive the next phase of shareholder value.

Shares of HPE closed Tuesday at $14.12, with a consensus analyst price target of $15.36 and a 52-week range of $12.69 to $15.12. Following the announcement, the stock was down about 5% at $13.36 in early trading indications Wednesday.