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Compaq delivers bland financials

Q1 nothing for Q to crow about

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Although Wall Street professed itself satisfied by Compaq's financial results for its first quarter, with the firm's share price rising four bucks to close at $30.25, in truth there is little need for Houston to break out the Moet bottles. The firm said that it had delivered turnover of $9.51 billion for the quarter up until March 31st this year, a rise of one per cent quarter on quarter, year on year. Compaq CEO Michael Capellas said that he was generally satisfied with the quarter, and said that this time of the year was generally tough for the hardware giant. He said Compaq's turnover was affected by a slowdown caused by year 2000 bug anxieties, weak figures in Europe and the continuing struggle to rid itself of channel stock. Q is continuing to cut its expenses, Capellas said. Last week the firm announced that 450 jobs would go in its PC wing. Stronger parts of Compaq's performance included its consumer business and revenues from its Tandem Himalaya biz. And watch out Europe. Capellas said Compaq is taking aggressive steps "to re-ignite" growth in the region. Breaking its business out segment by segment, its enterprise and services division showed a four per cent drop to $4.7 billion, quarter on quarter, year on year. Demand for "industry standard" (x86 servers) particularly eight way Proliants, stayed strong. Alpha sales fell because customers are waiting for Wildfire in May and because of manufacturing changes in the US during the quarter. Compaq already has 120 orders for Wildfire systems. Storage sales appear to have been disappointing, if the phrase "mixed results" means what it usually does. Compaq's business PC division saw revenues fall by seven per cent to $2.9 billion year on year, and showed an operating loss of $19 million for the period, compared to a profit of $24 million in the same quarter last year. The consumer group posted an increase of 35 per cent, turning in revenues of $1.8 billion. Worldwide, Compaq turned in four per cent growth in the North American countries, 14 per cent in Asia Pacific, 21 per cent in Japan and nine per cent in Red China. (Q calls it Greater China). Capellas said that Compaq is Microsoft's premier Windows 2000 partner and that deals and partnerships will mean the firm will show further growth in Q2 and that growth will accelerate during the second half of this year. Now if only they would bring back the NT platform for the Alpha microprocessor... ®

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