A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Shares have lost about 9.7% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.
Will the exact negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is HP Enterprise due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most exact earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise reported third-quarter fiscal 2022 non-GAAP earnings of 48 cents per share, which matched the Zacks Consensus Estimate and was a penny higher than the year-ago quarter’s earnings of 47 cents per share.
Revenues of $7 billion increased 1% from the prior-year quarter and surpassed the consensus mark of $6.97 billion. Annualized revenue run-rate (“ARR”) was up 22% year over year to $858 million.
Hewlett Packard continued to witness increased demand for its products and services during the quarter, primarily driven by the accelerated digital transformation amid the remote working trend. Despite supply-chain constraints and high inflationary pressure, the company witnessed an increase in both earnings and sales growth.
Segment-wise, High-Performance Compute & Artificial Intelligence (“HPC & AI”) revenues increased 12% year over year to $830 million. The company stated that this segment’s market share has expanded 39% at the end of the quarter.
The Compute division’s sales decreased 3% year over year to $3 billion. The division witnessed 210 basis points (bps) operating profit margin expansion to 13.3%, driven by strategic pricing actions that offset inflated input costs.
Revenues in the Intelligent Edge division rose 8% year over year to $941 million during the quarter, primarily driven by strong customer demand. Revenues from both Aruba Services witnessed double-digit growth while Intelligent Edge as-a-Service saw an improvement of over 60%.
Financial Service revenues were down 3% year over year to $817 million. Net portfolio assets dipped 4% to roughly $12.6 billion.
Revenues from the Storage business were down 2% year over year to $1.2 billion, primarily on account of supply chain disruptions in HPE IP solutions.
Corporate Investments & Other revenues stood at $300 million, down 9.6% year over year.
Non-GAAP gross margin of 34.7% remained flat on a year-over-year basis while expanding 50 bps sequentially. The year-over-year increase in gross margin was mainly driven by a strong pricing discipline and a continued mix shift toward higher-margin software-rich offerings.
Hewlett Packard’s non-GAAP operating profit margin increased 70 bps year over year to 10.5% and 120 bps sequentially. The company continued to save from the cost optimization plan and invest in high-growth, margin-rich portfolios in the third quarter of fiscal 2022.
Hewlett Packard ended the fiscal third quarter with $3.76 billion in cash and cash equivalents compared with $3.03 billion at the end of the previous quarter.
During the fiscal third quarter, Hewlett Packard generated $1.3 billion of cash for operational activities and a free cash flow of $587 million. Free cash flow reflected normal seasonality and certain inventory actions undertaken to keep pace with the growing demand of customers.
During the first nine months of fiscal 2022, the company generated $1.56 billion of cash for operational activities and a negative free cash flow of $201 million.
Hewlett Packard returned $353 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends in the reported quarter. The company declared a regular cash dividend of 12 cents per share, payable on Oct 7, 2022.
Hewlett Packard revised guidance for fiscal 2022 non-GAAP earnings. The company now predicts the figure in the range of $1.96-$2.04 per share compared with the previously guided range of $1.96-$2.10 per share.
Further, HPE currently anticipates free cash flow in the band of $1.7-$1.9 billion, down from the prior estimated band of $1.8-$2 billion.
For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, Hewlett Packard expects non-GAAP earnings between 52 cents and 60 cents per share.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in estimates revision.
At this time, HP Enterprise has a poor Growth Score of F, however its Momentum Score is doing a lot better with a B. Charting a somewhat similar path, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top 20% for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, HP Enterprise has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.
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There are plenty of other Americans unsure about the EV revolution coming up fast behind them. American Enterprise Institute senior fellow Benjamin Zycher says the Biden administration’s goal to increase electric vehicles sales to 50 per cent of all sales in less than 10 years is “impossible”.
Then there are those who think grand EV sales targets could hurt overall car sales. Before meeting GM and Ford, the two biggest EV manufacturers after Elon Musk’s Tesla, AFR Weekend visited six car dealers along the main car sales strip in Wayne County, on the edge of Detroit.
At the Chevrolet dealership on Michigan Avenue, Benjamin Vasicek and Steve Adams are unimpressed by Chevrolet parent GM’s plans to stop making combustion engine vehicles.
“100 per cent electric is a joke – it ain’t going to happen,” Vasicek says. “Don’t get me wrong – we can sell them as soon as we get them in. But I like gas, I don’t like electric. And people should have the choice,” he says. “What happens when you get caught in a snowstorm or a hurricane and there’s no power?”
His business partner, Steve Adams, brings up some of the problems that have dogged EVs to date: GM recalling 141,000 Chevy Bolts after 16 of them caught fire; charging stations that take too long and are too far apart; that there’s only one lithium mine for batteries in America. “There are still just too many issues,” he says.
Next door, Kirk Damas, who sells used Chevrolets, also takes a dim view of EVs. “Ninety-five per cent of my customers don’t want an EV… that’s the stone-cold truth,” Damas says. “I mean, you’re talking $US28,000 for a second hand Tesla and that’s a lot of money, and I’m not sure if the warranties are even transferable.”
He adds: “It’s just all so up in the air at the moment. I think people want a choice, but the problem is the auto industry is forcing the [combustion] out. It’s going to hurt our business. Let the people buy, if they want, but don’t force them. Let them choose if they want blue cheese or cheddar.”
Even Ford’s chief customer officer for electric vehicles and doctor of computational neuroscience, Marin Gjaja, says 100 per cent electric conversion is unlikely to happen.
“We don’t want to go out there and make some virtue signalling claim that we’re going to be at 100 per cent electric, when we don’t see that the market is going to be 100 per cent, nor is the regulatory structure there,” Gjaja says.
Scrapping combustion altogether is a politically charged syllabu in America. Last month, the California Air Resources Board decided to prohibit the sale of new petrol-powered cars by 2035. In Virginia, where the state’s legislature passed a law last year requiring the state to adopt the same vehicle standards as California, the new Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin took to Twitter to announce that decision would be reversed.
Republicans criticise the Biden administration for overlooking how unattainable an electric vehicle is for most families, despite Congress recently passing the Inflation Reduction Act which extends a tax credit of $US7500 for new EVs and $US4000 for used EVs.
The Republicans remind people that the average price of an EV is $US66,000, while the median income in South Bend, Indiana (where the first Studebaker electric vehicle was made in 1902), is just $US26,000.
At a McDonald’s drive-through in Detroit, where I tested the Hummer’s size for practical every-day requirements, there were plenty of looks and comments. But at a cost of $US110,000, the vehicle is beyond the average American’s wildest dreams.
But there are ways to make possession of an EV more economical. Californian business consultant and mother Tina Zimmerman uses subscription service Autonomy to pay $US490 a month for a Tesla 3.
“It was just the cheapest way,” Zimmerman says. “And Autonomy allows me to change the car when I want and get all the servicing done through Tesla.”
She paid $US800 to have a charger installed in her garage to charge the vehicle in off-peak times, for a cost of about $US40 a month.
Autonomy chief executive Scott Painter says the subscription service is growing rapidly. It launched in January and already has a $US50 million EV fleet. It wants to grow that to $US200 million by next year.
“We only buy our cars based on orders through our subscriber app. Wait lists are already emerging. The Tesla 3 waitlist is 12 months.”
Autonomy makes it about 30 per cent cheaper than buying an EV, which is attractive for the retail market but also for businesses.
“Every company is resetting the percentage of fleets that are EVs,” Painter says. Last month, car hire group Hertz said it would purchase up to 175,000 electric vehicles from General Motors over the next five years.
Uber drivers can be another gauge of EV demand. From a demo of ten Uber drivers, five of whom were from in Michigan in the north, and five were from Alabama in the south, one driver had an EV, two wanted to get one, but the remaining seven were anxious about buying an EV.
Uber driver Andrew Jentzen, 62, rents his Chevrolet Bolt for $350 a week through Hertz. It has a 200-mile range and he has not had any trouble. He says there are plenty of charging stations around – EVGo, Connect, Electrify America – which are conveniently located at shopping centres and places to eat.
But he did come close to running out one day. “I took a job up north and that was out of the 50-mile safety range. I got within 11 miles of running out,” he says.
In Alabama, Uber driver Quintella Ward is considering buying or leasing an EV after the exact spike in fuel costs, but says she is still nervous about charging stations. “I think after these gas prices, a lot more people are thinking about an EV.”
Another Uber driver in Huntsville, Alabama, Jordan King, says he would only buy an EV if he was confident of enough charging stations for a holiday road trip. “I want them to get the kinks out first, and I’ll get into the second wave,” he says.
In Detroit, Uber driver Belinda Rogers has driven car manufacturing workers to the office in the mornings. She says she would like to get an EV but can’t afford the lease payments.
Both GM’s Travis Hester and Ford’s Marin Gjaja say range anxiety – or the fear of a shortfall in charging infrastructure – is the second-most important barrier to entry after the availability of vehicle choices.
“Once people get their head around charging infrastructure, which is a huge, important syllabu in every adoption, then it’s just going to accelerate like crazy,” Hester says. “And I think we’re on the cusp of that right now [in the US].”
“At General Motors, we get data on about 47,000 charging events [in the US] every day. We know what customers charge at level one, level two, DC fast charging.
“We know where it was, we know how long you charge for, what was your state of charge at the start and at the finish, we know what time of the day it is. And because we know a lot about charging, we know it’s so important from a charging anxiety point of view.”
GM is spending $US750 million to roll out 40,000 chargers across America and is getting some help. The Biden administration allocated $US7.5 billion last year to build 500,000 charging stations by 2030.
The Department of Transportation announced last week that it had approved electric vehicle (EV) charging plans from all 50 states – a requirement to access the $US1.5 billion in this financial year, and next financial year’s formula funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for EV charging infrastructure.
The formula program includes a total of $US5 billion to be allocated over five years for EV charging infrastructure. The charging stations must include some high-speed chargers.
With 90 per cent of the US population living within 16 kilometres of an EV charging station already, the rollout of more chargers is set to reduce range anxiety.
There are also concerns that cars such as the Hummer, which suck up plenty of energy, might be drawing on fossil fuels that flow into the charging stations. In Detroit, the energy mix for the grid is coal, nuclear and renewable.
But the use of coal has declined, and GM’s Hester is confident that wholesale power providers are doing everything they can to generate renewable energy. Most charging stations say they are 100 per cent sourced by renewable energy.
Hester insists that after all the carbon emissions – from mining to processing to manufacturing – that go into making an EV, means it still comes out better for the environment. He cites the Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
But some aren’t so sure. Wall Street-based natural resource investors Goehring & Rozencwajg estimate that nearly 10 years of carbon “savings” would be spent on the energy transition itself.
“A battery is expected to last between six and 15 years depending on charging behaviour, while wind turbines have an expected life of 20 years and PV solar panels have a useful life of 25 years. At best, a huge amount of the expected carbon savings will be undone by the necessary manufacturing. At worst, the impact could be net detrimental.”
Chairman of ASX-listed coal seam gas company Comet Ridge and Tesla model S owner, James McKay, says Australians should be aware of significant new constraints on electricity demand as electric car sales surge.
“I believe there is a lack of understanding of the electricity required as we move from internal combustion engines to EVs. The system is struggling at times already and this is before everyone arrives home at 6pm and plugs in their EVs to charge,” McKay says.
“Australia used around 51 billion litres of petrol in 2020. If as expected by 2030, EVs on the road will be greater than 10 per cent, this is a significant increase in electricity demand. Google suggests that one litre of petrol contains the energy equivalent to 8.9 kWh of electricity.”
Tax is another issue. A fuel excise applies to combustion cars but with fewer of those cars on the road, governments will lose billions of dollars in revenue. Although there is a fee for EVs, the ultimate aim of EVs is that there will be less volume of fuel and energy to tax at the bowser.
A senior Department of Transport official told AFR Weekend “it’s the biggest issue and there is not much appetite for a new tax”. It is a “kick the can down the road” problem and most politicians are afraid to be the one supporting a bigger new tax on EVs to maintain roads.
One of the bigger issues into the future for EV producers is the global supply chain and a 40-year-high in inflation. This week, Tesla reported below consensus vehicles sales – the shortfall representing a $1 billion revenue shortfall. Tesla management cited logistical bottlenecks, saying “it is becoming increasingly challenging to secure vehicle transportation capacity”.
EV maker Rivian announced it would cut its workforce by 6 per cent as it tried to simplify its product lineup, but this week said it was on track to meet its production goals for the year.
Last month, Ford reported that it expected provider costs would add up to $US1 billion more than expected in the third quarter alone. A shortage in car parts was affecting between 40,000 and 45,000 vehicles.
Ford’s Gjaja says it is a critical problem,
but one that can be overcome with some pioneering spirit.
“If you look at chip constraints, you look at COVID-driven constraints or labour-driven constraints, the global supply chain is creaking under the strain and collectively as an industry we’re unable to produce enough vehicles for the demand that’s out there,” Gjaja says. “There is a question of is there a systemic shortage?”
Ford has publicly announced that it has secured 100 per cent of its raw materials for its first lunge into a scaled EV production commitment of 600,000 units by 2023. Gjaja, who drives a Mustang Mach-E, is confident that Ford can manage it.
“I dial the clock back 120 years, when Henry Ford scaled up the Model T, he had to go and find rubber trees because they did their own tyres,” he says. “The good news for us is there are other people out there mining lithium, we don’t need to launch lithium mines, there are other people doing it.”
And many of those people are in Australia. Australia supplies about 50 per cent of the world’s lithium and is in the perfect position to take advantage of the demand in battery inputs for the EV sector, in part because of the US legislation.
Under the Biden administration’s EV credit system, the vehicle purchased needs to have at least 40 per cent inputs from free trade partners such as Australia.
In the past few weeks, the Australian embassy has been engaged in calls with major car manufacturers about how they might invest in critical minerals processing in Australia. Presently, China has the lion’s share of critical minerals processing.
Analysis from the International Monetary Fund suggests Australia is in pole position to benefit from a sixfold increase in demand for so-called “critical minerals” worth $US12.9 trillion ($17.6 trillion) over the next two decades.
With such a low-cost base, the economic boost for Australia could be huge. After testing Ford’s F-150 Lightning EV pick-up truck in New York last month, Energy Minister Chris Bowen told AFR Weekend that he wanted a new EV manufacturing sector in Australia, after the end of the car manufacturing industry in 2017.
“We can make electric vehicles in Australia. Not only do I think that, so do the electric vehicle manufacturers,” he said.
The Albanese government has changed fringe benefit tax rules and importation tax rules to make the cost of both EVs and hybrid cars cheaper.
In Australia, sales of electric vehicles were about 2 per cent last year, or about 20,000 with about 3000 charging stations according to the Electric Vehicle Council. Bowen wants that revved up. In the month of August, EV sales suddenly accounted for 4.4 per cent of the total car sales, with Tesla alone selling 3397 vehicles in the month, according to Australia’s Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
But it is early days. If Bowen goes down the path of the Biden government, he might try to link incentives to Labor’s traditional union base. Biden tried to link credit incentives for EV manufacturers to whether they had unionised labour, but it ultimately failed.
The White House invited some of the world’s biggest EV makers but left out Tesla because it doesn’t have a unionised workforce. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk noticed the rejection. “Yeah, seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited,” Musk said.
But getting the right workers for EV production is also hard. There might be an increase in job opportunities, but filling them requires a huge improvement in skills base.
The president and chief executive of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Kevin Johnson, tells AFR Weekend that there are growing pains in trying to fill the jobs on offer.
In the statistical area of Detroit-Warren-Dearborn where 4.3 million people live, the annual unemployment rate in August was just 3.5 per cent – lower than the overall national average.
“We currently have 12,300 open positions in Detroit right now. The availability is not the issue, it’s getting the people ready,” Johnson says. “There is a rapidly changing skill set and the education required for it is rapidly scaling up,” he says, citing the efforts of governments and car manufacturers to build and fund centres of excellence and innovation.
Johnson is sure that the benefits of rebuilding the car industry to take on countries such as China, which made up 60 per cent of global EV exports last year, can bring Detroit’s wasteland of decaying factories and buildings back to life.
Our Hummer passes a lot of these abandoned buildings with their shattered windows, crumbling bricks, graffiti walls and rusted iron. At one stage, I drive the Hummer into a messy old lot where nothing but these dying buildings can be seen.
As I ponder the nostalgia of Detroit’s old world, I wonder whether the EV sector will return the city to its former glory.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Defense Department has gotten a request from SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk to take over funding for his satellite network that has provided crucial battlefield communications for Ukrainian military forces since almost the beginning of its war with Russia, U.S. officials said Friday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter not yet made public, said the issue has been discussed in meetings and senior leaders are weighing the matter. There have been no decisions.