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HP’s problem in one chart: Printing is now its biggest source of profit

By Dan Frommer
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

As Hewlett-Packard’s long and messy turnaround continues, the tech company’s profit is increasingly coming from a familiar—but likely less-than-ideal—source: Printing.

The company’s PC division—its largest by revenue—posted year-over-year sales growth during the second quarter, HP reported yesterday. But its venerable printing business generated the most earnings from operations—the only segment over $1 billion.

It’s a trend. Printing has grown to 42% of HP’s total segment earnings—before expenses like stock-based compensation, amortization, and restructuring charges—up from 37% a year ago and 26% two years ago.

Why? While printing profits are growing modestly—on HP’s earnings call, CFO Catherine Lesjak credited “further traction in key initiatives” related to ink—much of the rest of the company continues to struggle. HP CEO Meg Whitman also announced that an additional 16,000 employees would leave via its ongoing restructuring program, bringing the total to “as many as 50,000.”

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