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HP posts dire financials amid Autonomy acquisition scandal

20 Nov 2012
HP's Meg Whitman

Tech giant HP has posted a seven percent decline in sales for its fourth quarter of 2012, swinging to a loss of $6.8bn for the three months ending 31 October.

While HP can point to a $8.8bn charge it has taken over its acquisition of Autonomy, its performance provide cold comfort for chief executive Meg Whitman, with all of its major business units – expect software – seeing drastic sales declines.

In its PC business, which Whitman saved from being sold off, revenues for the quarter dropped 14 percent year on year, from $10.1bn in 2011 to $8.7bn in 2012. 

HP's printing business, once the company's cash cow, saw sales fall to $6.1bn, a five percent drop on the $6.4bn sales in the year-ago quarter. 

Quarterly revenues at HP's services business were down six percent, from $9.2bn in 2011 to $8.7bn in Q412.

“Fiscal 2012 was the first year in a multi-year journey to turn HP around," said Whitman. "We're starting to see progress in key areas, such as new product releases and customer wins.”

For the full year, HP saw sales dip from $127.4bn in 2011 to $120.4bn in 2012. It posted a profit of $9.68bn in 2011 and a loss of $11.06bn in 2012.

HP has accused the former management team at Autonomy of wilfully misrepresenting the firm's worth, and written down much of the firm's value. It has also approached the UK's Serious Fraud Office about its acquisition.

Nevertheless, whatever the upshot of HP's claims about Autonomy, its current management team face a monumental tasks turning around the embattled tech giant.

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