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Hewlett Packard swallowed hard and took a tax adjustment of almost a billion dollars in its Q3 earnings announced today. HP's cash repatriation on foreign earnings will amount to $14 billion. The tax adjustment of $988 million was required by the American Jobs Creation Act.

Excluding the charge, however, HP would have recorded a net income of $1.06 billion on revenue of $20.8 billion, up 7 per cent and 9.9 per cent respectively from a year ago after currency adjustments.

Printing continues to be HP's powerhouse, bagging $5.9 billion of revenue and $771 million in operating profit. HP attributed the success to strong laser and multifunction shipments.

The PC business saw its revenues increase, too, recording an operating profit of $163 million on $6.4 billion in revenue. The margins continue to be razor thin, at 2.6 per cent, but that's up from a year ago.

Services profits fell slightly year-on-year to $256 million on income of $3.8 billion. And storage and servers reported $4 billion of income and an operating profit of $150 million.

Wintel and Linux server sales grew 28 per cent, storage sales grew 15 per cent, and enterprise hardware sales grew 7 per cent year-on-year. Even HP-UX reported better figures, up 8 per cent on 2004.

Software continues to be HP's weakness, although losses in the group narrowed slightly to $40 million on revenue of $249 million. And HP's financing operation recorded profits of $58 million on earnings of $489 million

For the fiscal year to date HP reported net income of $3.21 billion on sales of $63.78 billion, and expects Q4 FY2005 revenue come within the range of $22.4 billion to $22.8 billion.

Restructuring and redundancies will cost $900 million in the coming quarter, offset by a one-time saving of $200 million from freezing the pensions - a very unpopular move with HP's staff. ®

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