(Bloomberg) -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. gave a lackluster quarterly profit forecast, held back by shortages of components that made it difficult to meet demand for its computer equipment. Shares slid in late trading.
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Profit, excluding certain items, will be 42 cents to 50 cents a share in the three months ending in January, the Houston-based company said Tuesday in a statement. That compares with analysts’ average projection of 49 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Supply continued to be a problem and it will be in the short term,” Chief Executive Officer Antonio Neri said in an interview. “Demand significantly accelerated in the fourth quarter.”
Like many of its peers in the computer industry, HPE is trying to lessen its reliance on hardware sales by persuading customers to pay for subscriptions to add-on services, which provide a steadier revenue stream. In the near term, its fortunes are still dependent on those one-time purchases. The company’s ability to fill orders has been constrained by global parts shortages, especially semiconductors. Competition for limited supply has forced up prices, squeezing profit.
Shares fell as low as $12.88 in extended trading following the report, after closing at $14.35 in New York. The stock has jumped 21% this year.
Neri maintained that demand remains robust, boosted by the broader return to offices and in-person study following the Covid-19 lockdowns, and the embrace of new technology those shifts in the economy have created.
Orders for the fiscal year that ended Oct. 31 were up 16% from the prior year, HPE said in the statement. Neri dismissed concerns that customers might be double ordering in an attempt to make sure they get most of what they need -- something that would pump up orders beyond real demand.
In the fourth quarter, revenue rose 2% to $7.35 billion. Profit, excluding some items, was 52 cents a share. Analysts, on average, estimated adjusted earnings of 48 cents a share on revenue of $7.38 billion.
Sales at HPE’s biggest unit, Compute, rose 1.1% to $3.2 billion. Storage revenue gained 3.5% to $1.26 billion. The Intelligent Edge unit, which sells devices used to link and manage previously unconnected gear, gained 3.7% to $815 million.
(Updates with CEO comment, stock price movement starting in first paragraph.)
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