ITEM 1. Business.
We are a leading global provider of personal computing and other access devices, imaging and printing products, and related technologies, solutions and services. We sell to individual consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses (“SMBs”) and large enterprises, including customers in the government, health and education sectors.
As part of the separation of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (“Hewlett Packard Enterprise”), Hewlett-Packard Company’s former enterprise technology infrastructure, software, services and financing businesses (the “Separation”), on November 1, 2015, HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise entered into a separation and distribution agreement and various other agreements that provide a framework for the relationships between the parties following the Separation.
HP Products and Services; Segment Information
We have three reportable segments: Personal Systems, Printing and Corporate Investments. The Personal Systems segment offers commercial and consumer desktop and notebook personal computers (“PCs”), workstations, thin clients, commercial mobility devices, retail point-of-sale (“POS”) systems, displays and peripherals, software, support and services. The Printing segment provides consumer and commercial printer hardware, supplies, services and solutions. Corporate Investments includes HP Labs and certain business incubation and investment projects.
Personal Systems offers commercial and consumer desktop and notebook PCs, workstations, thin clients, commercial mobility devices, retail POS systems, displays and peripherals, software, support and services. We group commercial notebooks, commercial desktops, commercial services, commercial mobility devices, commercial detachables and convertibles, workstations, retail POS systems and thin clients into commercial PCs and consumer notebooks, consumer desktops, consumer services and consumer detachables into consumer PCs when describing performance in these markets. Both commercial and consumer PCs maintain multi-operating system, multi-architecture strategies using Microsoft Windows and Google Chrome operating systems, and predominantly use processors from Intel Corporation (“Intel”) and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (“AMD”).
Commercial PCs are optimized for use by enterprise, public sector which includes education, and SMB customers, with a focus on robust design, security, serviceability, connectivity, reliability and manageability in the customer’s environment and working remotely. Commercial PCs include the HP ProBook and HP EliteBook lines of notebooks, convertibles, and detachables, the HP Pro and HP Elite lines of business desktops and all-in-ones, retail POS systems, HP Thin Clients, HP Pro Tablet PCs and the HP notebook, desktop and Chromebook systems. Commercial PCs also include workstations that are designed and optimized for high-performance and demanding application environments including Z desktop workstations, Z all-in-ones and Z mobile workstations. Additionally, we offer a range of services and solutions to enterprise, public sector which includes education and SMB customers to help them manage the lifecycle of their PC and mobility installed base.
Consumer PCs are optimized for consumer usage, focusing on gaming, learning and working remotely, consuming multi-media for entertainment, managing personal life activities, staying connected, sharing information, getting things done for work including creating content, and staying informed and secure. These systems include HP Spectre, HP Envy, HP Pavilion, HP Chromebook, HP Stream, Omen by HP lines of notebooks, desktops and hybrids, HP Envy, HP Pavilion desktops and all-in-one lines.
Personal Systems groups its global business capabilities into the following business units when reporting business performance:
•Notebooks consists of consumer notebooks, commercial notebooks, mobile workstations, peripherals, and commercial mobility devices;
• Desktops includes consumer desktops, commercial desktops, thin clients, displays, peripherals, and retail POS systems;
• Workstations consists of desktop workstations, displays and peripherals; and
• Other consists of consumer and commercial services as well as other Personal Systems capabilities.
Printing provides consumer and commercial printer hardware, supplies, services and solutions. Printing is also focused on Graphics and 3D imaging solutions in the commercial and industrial markets. Our global business capabilities within Printing are described below:
Office Printing Solutions delivers HP’s office printers, supplies, services, and solutions to SMBs and large enterprises. It also includes Original Equipment Manufacturer (“OEM”) hardware and solutions, and some Samsung-branded supplies.
Home Printing Solutions delivers innovative printing products, supplies, services and solutions for the home, home business and micro business customers utilizing both HP’s Ink and Laser technologies. It also includes some Samsung-branded supplies.
Graphics Solutions delivers large-format, commercial and industrial solutions and supplies to print service providers and packaging converters through a wide portfolio of printers and presses (HP DesignJet, HP Latex, HP Indigo and HP PageWide Web Presses).
3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing offers a portfolio of additive manufacturing solutions and supplies to help customers succeed in their additive and digital manufacturing journey. HP offers complete solutions in collaboration with an ecosystem of partners.
Printing groups its global business capabilities into the following business units when reporting business performance:
•Commercial consists of office printing solutions, graphics solutions and 3D printing and digital manufacturing, excluding supplies;
•Consumer consists of home printing solutions, excluding supplies; and
•Supplies comprises a set of highly innovative consumable products, ranging from ink and laser cartridges to media, graphics supplies and 3D printing and digital manufacturing supplies, for recurring use in consumer and commercial hardware.
Corporate Investments includes HP Labs and certain business incubation and investment projects.
Sales, Marketing and Distribution
We manage our business and report our financial results based on the business segments described above. Our customers are organized by consumer and commercial groups, and purchases of HP products, solutions and services may be fulfilled directly by HP or indirectly through a variety of partners, utilizing their own physical or internet stores or an omnichannel combination of the two, including:
•retailers that sell our products to the public focusing on consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses;
•resellers that sell our products and services, frequently with their own value-added products or services, to targeted customer groups;
•distribution partners that supply our products and solutions to resellers; and
•system integrators and other business intermediaries that provide various levels of services, including systems integration work and as-a-service solutions, and typically partner with us on client solutions that require our products and services.
The mix of our business conducted by direct sales or channel sales differs by business and geographic market. We believe that customer buying patterns and different geographic market conditions require us to tailor our sales, marketing and distribution efforts to the geographic market and sub-geographic specificities for each of our businesses. We are focused on driving the depth and breadth of our market coverage while identifying efficiencies and productivity gains in both our direct and indirect routes to market. Our businesses collaborate to accomplish strategic and process alignment where appropriate. For example, we typically assign an account manager to manage relationships across our business with large enterprise customers. The account manager is supported by a team of specialists with product and services expertise and drives both direct and indirect sales to their assigned customers. For other customers and for consumers, we typically manage both direct online sales as well as channel relationships with retailers mainly targeting consumers and SMBs and commercial resellers mainly targeting SMBs and mid-market accounts.
Manufacturing and Materials
We utilize a significant number of outsourced manufacturers (“OMs”) around the world to manufacture HP-designed products. The use of OMs is intended to generate cost efficiencies and reduce time to market for HP-designed products. We use multiple OMs to maintain flexibility in our supply chain and manufacturing processes. In some circumstances, third-party suppliers produce products that we purchase and resell under the HP brand. Additionally, we manufacture finished products from components and sub-assemblies that we acquire from a wide range of vendors.
We utilize two primary methods of fulfilling demand for products: building products to order and configuring products to order. We build products to order to maximize manufacturing and logistics efficiencies by producing high volumes of basic product configurations. Alternatively, configuring products to order enables units to match a customer’s hardware and software customization requirements. Our inventory management and distribution practices in both building products to order and configuring products to order seek to minimize inventory holding periods by taking delivery of the inventory and manufacturing shortly before the sale or distribution of products to our customers.
We purchase materials, supplies and product sub-assemblies from a substantial number of vendors. For most of our products, we have existing or readily available alternate sources of supply. However, we have relied on sole sources for some laser printer engines, LaserJet supplies, certain customized parts and parts for products with short life cycles (although some of these sources have operations in multiple locations, mitigating the effect of a disruption). For instance, we source the majority of our A4 and a portion of A3 portfolio laser printer engines and laser toner cartridges from Canon. Any decision by either party not to renew our agreement with Canon or to limit or reduce the scope of the agreement could adversely affect our net
revenue from LaserJet products; however, we have a long-standing business relationship with Canon and anticipate renewal of this agreement.
We are dependent upon Intel and AMD as suppliers of x86 processors and Microsoft and Google for various software products. We believe that disruptions with these suppliers would have industry-wide ramifications, and therefore would not disproportionately disadvantage us relative to our competitors. See “Risk Factors—We are heavily dependent on third-party suppliers and supply chain issues have adversely affected, and could continue to adversely affect, our financial results” in Item 1A, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Like other participants in the information technology (“IT”) industry, we ordinarily acquire materials and components through a combination of blanket and scheduled purchase orders to support our demand requirements for periods averaging 90 to 120 days. From time to time, we may experience significant price volatility or supply constraints for certain components that are not available from multiple sources. We also may acquire component inventory in anticipation of supply constraints or enter into longer-term pricing commitments with vendors to improve the priority, price and availability of supplies. See “Risk Factors—We are heavily dependent on third-party suppliers and supply chain issues have adversely affected, and could continue to adversely affect, our financial results” in Item 1A, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Sustainability also plays an important role in the manufacturing and sourcing of materials and components for our products. We strive to make our products in an ethical and sustainable manner. We have committed to building an efficient, resilient and sustainable supplier network, and we collaborate with our suppliers to improve their labor practices and working conditions, and to reduce the environmental impact of their operations. These actions, together with our broader sustainability program, help us in our effort to meet customer sustainability requirements and comply with regulations, such as supplier labor practices and conflict minerals disclosures. For more information on our sustainability goals, programs, and performance, we refer you to our annual sustainability report, available on our website (which is not incorporated by reference herein).
Our products and services are available worldwide. We believe this geographic diversity allows us to meet both consumer and enterprise customers’ demand on a worldwide basis and draws on business and technical expertise from a worldwide workforce. This provides stability to our operations, provides revenue streams that may offset geographic economic trends and offers us an opportunity to access new markets for maturing products. We believe that our broad geographic presence as well as our focus on diversity and inclusion, gives us a solid base on which to build future growth.
Research and Development
Innovation across products, services, business models and processes is a key element of our culture and success. Our development efforts are focused on designing and developing products, services and solutions that anticipate customers’ changing needs and desires, and emerging technological trends. Our efforts also are focused on identifying the areas where we believe we can make a unique contribution and the areas where partnering with other leading technology companies will leverage our cost structure and maximize our customers’ experiences.
HP Labs, together with the various research and development groups within our business segments, is responsible for our research and development efforts. HP Labs is part of our Corporate Investments segment.
We anticipate that we will continue to have significant research and development expenditures in the future to support the design and development of innovative, high-quality products and services to maintain and enhance our competitive position.
For a discussion of risks attendant to our research and development activities, see “Risk Factors—If we cannot successfully execute our strategy and continue to develop, manufacture and market innovative products, services and solutions, our business and financial performance may suffer” in Item 1A, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Our general policy has been to seek patent protection for those inventions likely to be incorporated into our products and services or where obtaining such proprietary rights will improve our competitive position. At October 31, 2021, our worldwide patent portfolio included over 28,000 patents.
Patents generally have a term of twenty years from the date they are filed. As our patent portfolio has been built over time, the remaining terms of the individual patents across our patent portfolio vary. We believe that our patents and patent applications are important for maintaining the competitive differentiation of our products and services, enhancing our freedom of action to sell our products and services in markets in which we choose to participate, and maximizing our return on research and development investments. No single patent is essential to HP as a whole or to any of HP’s business segments.
In addition to developing our patent portfolio, we license intellectual property (“IP”) from third parties as we deem appropriate. We have also granted and continue to grant to others licenses, and other rights, under our patents when we consider these arrangements to be in our interest. These license arrangements include a number of cross-licenses with third parties.
For a discussion of risks attendant to IP rights, see “Risk Factors—Our financial performance may suffer if we cannot develop, obtain, license or enforce the intellectual property rights on which our businesses depend”, “Risk Factors—Our products and services depend in part on IP and technology licensed from third parties” and “Risk Factors—Third-party claims
of IP infringement are commonplace in our industry and may limit or disrupt our ability to sell our products and services” in Item 1A, which is incorporated herein by reference.
General economic conditions have an impact on our business and financial results. From time to time, the markets in which we sell our products and services experience weak economic conditions that may negatively affect sales. We experience some seasonal trends in the sale of our products and services. For example, European sales are often weaker in the summer months and consumer sales are often stronger in the fourth calendar quarter. Demand during the spring and early summer months also may be adversely impacted by market anticipation of seasonal trends. Historical seasonal patterns may not continue in the future and have been impacted by increasing supply constraints, shifts in customer behavior and the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. See “Risk Factors—Our uneven sales cycle makes planning and inventory management difficult and future financial results less predictable,” in Item 1A, which is incorporated herein by reference.
We encounter strong competition in all areas of our business activity. We compete on the basis of technology, innovation, performance, price, quality, reliability, brand, reputation, distribution, range of products and services, ease of use of our products, account relationships, customer training, service, support and solutions including subscription-based offerings and financing, security, availability of application software, and our sustainability performance.
The markets for each of our key business segments are characterized by strong competition among major corporations with long-established positions and a large number of new and rapidly growing firms. Most product life cycles are short, and to remain competitive we must develop new products and services, periodically enhance our existing products and services and compete effectively on the basis of the factors listed above. In addition, we compete with many of our current and potential partners, including OEMs that design, manufacture and often market their products under their own brand names. Our successful management of these competitive partner relationships will be critical to our future success. Moreover, we anticipate that we will have to continue to adjust prices on many of our products and services to stay competitive.
We have a broad technology portfolio spanning personal computing and other access devices, imaging and printing-related products and services. We are the leader or among the leaders in each of our key business segments.
The competitive environment in which each key segment operates is described below:
Personal Systems. The markets in which Personal Systems operates are highly competitive and are characterized by price competition and introduction of new products and solutions. Our primary competitors are Lenovo Group Limited, Dell Inc., Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Acer Inc., ASUSTeK Computer Inc., Apple Inc., Toshiba Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. In particular geographies, we also experience competition from local companies and from generically-branded or “white box” manufacturers. Our competitive advantages include our broad product portfolio, our innovation, and research and development capabilities including security features, our innovative design work, our brand and procurement leverage, our ability to cross-sell our portfolio of offerings, our extensive service and support offerings and the accessibility of our products through a broad-based distribution strategy from retail and commercial channels to direct sales.
Printing. The markets for printer hardware and associated supplies are highly competitive. Printing’s key customer segments each face competitive market pressures in pricing and the introduction of new products. Our primary competitors include Canon Inc., Lexmark International, Inc., Xerox Corporation Ltd., Seiko Epson Corporation, The Ricoh Company Ltd. and Brother Industries, Ltd. In addition, independent suppliers offer non-original supplies (including imitation, refill and remanufactured alternatives), which are often available for lower prices but which can also offer lower print quality and reliability compared to HP original inkjet and toner supplies. These and other competing products are often sold alongside our products through online or omnichannel resellers or distributors, or such resellers and distributors may highlight the availability of lower cost non-original supplies. Our competitive advantages include our comprehensive high-quality solutions for the home, office and publishing environments, our innovation, and research and development capabilities including security features, sustainability, our brand, and the accessibility of our products through a broad-based distribution strategy from retail and commercial channels to direct sales.
For a discussion of risks attendant to these competitive factors, see “Risk Factors—We operate in an intensely competitive industry and competitive pressures could harm our business and financial performance,” in Item 1A, which is incorporated herein by reference.
At HP, we believe how we do things is just as important as what we do, and so efforts to make a sustainable impact on people, the planet and our communities are integrated into HP’s business strategy and operations.
Through our Sustainable Impact agenda, HP is tackling some key issues: Climate Action, Human Rights, and Digital Equity. Our ambition is to become the world’s most sustainable and just technology company by 2030, and our strategy is designed to propel us forward. It stays true to HP’s values, supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and prioritizes efforts where our technology, talent, and ecosystem can have the greatest impact.
Climate Action: Drive toward a net zero carbon, fully regenerative economy while engineering the industry’s most sustainable portfolio of products and solutions. Among our goals:
•Achieve net zero greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions across HP’s value chain (scope 1, 2 and 3) by 2040, with a 50% reduction in absolute value chain GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 2019;
•Reach 75% circularity for products and packaging by 2030;
•Maintain zero deforestation for HP paper and paper-based packaging and counteract deforestation for non-HP paper used in our products and print services;
Human Rights: Create a powerful culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Advance human rights, social justice, and racial and gender equality across our ecosystem, raising the bar for all. Among our goals:
•Achieve 50/50 gender equality in HP leadership by 2030;
•Achieve greater than 30% technical women and women in engineering roles by 2030;
•Meet or exceed labor market representation for racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. by 2030;
•Reach one million workers through worker empowerment programs by 2030;
Digital Equity: Lead in activating and innovating holistic solutions that break down the digital divide that prevents many from accessing the education, jobs, and healthcare needed to thrive. Drive digital inclusion to transform lives and communities. Among our goals:
•Accelerate digital equity for 150 million people by 2030;
•Enable better learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025, since the beginning of 2015;
•Enroll 1 million HP LIFE (Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs) users between 2016 and 2025;
For more information on our Sustainable Impact strategy, programs, and a complete list of goals and performance, we refer you to our annual Sustainable Impact Report, available on our website (which is not incorporated by reference herein).
Our operations are subject to regulation under various federal, state, local and foreign laws concerning the environment, including laws addressing the discharge of pollutants into the air and water, the management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, and the cleanup of contaminated sites. We could incur substantial costs, including cleanup costs, fines and civil or criminal sanctions, and third-party damage or personal injury claims, if we were to violate or become liable under environmental laws.
Many of our products are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign laws governing chemical substances in products and their safe use, including laws regulating the manufacture and distribution of chemical substances and laws restricting the presence of certain substances in electronics products. Most of our products also are subject to requirements applicable to their energy consumption. In addition, we face increasing complexity in our product design and procurement operations as we adjust to new and future requirements relating to the chemical and materials composition of our products, and their safe use.
We proactively evaluate and at times replace materials in our products and supply chain, taking into account, among other things, published lists of substances of concern, new and upcoming legal requirements, customer preferences and scientific analysis that indicates a potential impact to human health or the environment.
We are also subject to legislation in an increasing number of jurisdictions that makes producers of electrical goods, including computers and printers, financially responsible for specified collection, recycling, treatment and disposal of past and future covered products (sometimes referred to as “product take-back legislation”). We are also subject to standards set by public and private entities related to sustainability issues such as energy consumption, carbon emissions, reusing or recycling. We intend for our products to be easily reused and recycled, and we provide many of our customers with reuse and recycling programs.
In the event our products become non-compliant with these laws or standards, our products could be restricted from entering certain jurisdictions or from being procured by certain governments or private companies, and we could face other sanctions, including fines.
Our operations, supply chain and our products are expected to become increasingly subject to federal, state, local and foreign laws, regulations and international treaties relating to climate change, such as climate disclosure, carbon pricing or product energy efficiency requirements, requiring us to comply or potentially face market access limitations or other sanctions including fines. We strive to continually improve the energy and carbon efficiency of our operations, supply chain and product portfolio and deliver more cost-effective and lower carbon technology solutions to our customers. We believe that technology will be fundamental to finding solutions to achieve compliance with and manage those requirements, and we are collaborating with industry, business groups and governments to find and promote ways that HP technology can be used to address climate change and to facilitate compliance with related laws, regulations and treaties.
We are committed to complying with all environmental laws applicable to our operations, products and services and to reducing our environmental impact across all aspects of our business. This commitment is reflected and outlined in our sustainability policy, our comprehensive environmental, health and safety policy, strict environmental management of our operations and worldwide environmental programs and services.
A liability for environmental remediation and other environmental costs is accrued when we consider it probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated. Environmental costs and accruals are presently not material to our operations, cash flows or financial position. Although there is no assurance that existing or future environmental laws applicable to our operations or products will not have a material adverse effect on our operations, cash flows or financial condition, we do not currently anticipate material capital expenditures for environmental control facilities.
For a discussion of risks attendant to these environmental factors, see “Risk Factors—Our business is subject to various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations that could result in costs or other sanctions that adversely affect our business and results of operations and cash flows” in Item 1A, which is incorporated herein by reference. In addition, for a discussion of our environmental contingencies see Note 14, “Litigation and Contingencies” to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8, which is also incorporated herein by reference.
Approximately 51,000 employees worldwide power HP’s innovation, contributing unique perspectives and a growth mindset to create breakthrough technologies and transformative solutions. We are committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace that attracts, retains, and advances exceptional talent. Through ongoing employee development, comprehensive compensation and benefits, and a focus on health, safety, and employee wellbeing, we strive to support our employees in all aspects of their lives so they can do their best work—while learning, growing, and feeling engaged.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Innovation at HP comes from the diverse perspectives, backgrounds, knowledge, and unique experiences of our employees. We strive to create an inclusive workplace where people bring their authentic selves to work and can reach their full potential.
Our commitment to DEI starts at the top with a highly knowledgeable, skilled and diverse board of directors. We are among the top technology companies for women in executive positions. Women represent 32.5% of HP’s full-time executive positions globally. We are committed to improving representation of women at HP overall, with an intentional focus on leadership and technical roles globally.
In fiscal year 2021, 44.8% of our U.S. hires were ethnically diverse. We continue to work on removing barriers for underrepresented employees by creating equitable programs, training and development opportunities to grow and promote our employees.
To ensure leadership embeds a strong focus on DEI, each executive leader has individual performance goals under the Management by Objectives (“MBOs”) program tied to DEI. The board has ongoing oversight of these programs.
We believe people should be paid equitably for what they do and how they do it, regardless of their gender, race, or other personal characteristics. To deliver on that commitment, we benchmark and set pay ranges based on relevant market data and consider factors such as an employee’s role and experience, and their performance. We also regularly review our compensation practices, both in terms of our overall workforce and individual employees, to make sure our pay is fair and equitable.
For the past five years, HP has reviewed employees’ compensation with the support of independent third-party experts to ensure consistent pay practices.
HP expanded its annual pay equity assessment in fiscal year 2021 - evaluating the nine countries with our largest employee populations, representing 72% of our global workforce. The independent analysis determined there were no systemic issues. Any areas of potential concern, considering what we would expect employees to be paid when evaluating their skills, qualifications, and experience were reviewed and addressed as part of our off-cycle compensation process.
We regularly collect feedback from employees to better understand and improve their experiences and identify opportunities to continually strengthen our culture. In fiscal year 2021, 95% of employees participated in our annual employee engagement survey. Employee engagement globally remained stable as compared to fiscal year 2020. Ethics and integrity as well as employees feeling that HP values diversity were both highly rated, at 96% and 94%, respectively. Our Inclusion Index reported 87% of employees experience an inclusive work environment at HP.
Talent and Learning
HP employees have access to a wide range of development opportunities, including virtual, social, and self-directed learning, as well as mentoring and coaching. We offer a variety of collaborative learning experiences, connection to a network
of subject matter experts, and a social learning platform that enables employees to integrate development into their daily routines.
In fiscal year 2021, 99% of employees participated in learning and development activities, and we estimate that employees (on average) spent more than 30 hours participating in development activities through the year. The 2021 annual employee survey revealed that 84% of employees felt HP actively supported their learning and development.
Through fiscal year 2021 we accelerated our transition toward more holistic approaches of employee development, with additional trainings supporting employee wellbeing and remote working. More than 25,000 employees participated in new virtual business, professional, digital, and career development live trainings.
In addition to the above, we have key focus areas on leadership development and digital skills. Our priority leadership development programs included our new Hire EQ development program to improve our diversity hiring practices, and the Senior Leader Meeting Connect program to develop global business leadership insights and learn from external best practices. In fiscal year 2021, we continued our focus on the HP digital literacy campaign (Speak Digital) targeted to all employees to increase knowledge of digital technologies and emerging trends in customer experience and innovation.
Health, Safety, and Wellness
The physical health, financial wellbeing, life balance and mental health of our employees are vital to HP’s success. Our environmental, health, and safety leadership team uses our global injury and illness reporting system to assess worldwide and regional trends as a part of quarterly reviews. Our manufacturing facilities continue to represent our most significant health and safety risks, due to higher potential exposure to chemicals and machinery related hazards. Reducing and effectively managing risks at these facilities remains a focus, and injury rates continue to be low.
We also sponsor a global wellness program designed to enhance physical, financial, and mental wellbeing for all our employees around the world. Throughout the year, we encourage healthy behaviors through regular communications, educational sessions, voluntary progress tracking, wellness challenges, and other incentives.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a top priority of HP’s has been the health, safety, and wellbeing of employees and their families. Our cross-functional COVID-19 program management office meets regularly to review the latest data from HP business and site leaders, identify and address emerging risks, and formulate HP’s response to actions taken by governments and public policy organizations. We've put in place global policies and protocols based on guidance from healthcare experts and public health leaders, and regularly review and update them to reflect the best, most current information available.
Hybrid Work Strategy
We are embracing hybrid ways of working across HP and introduced new flexible working guidelines in July 2021. Hybrid Work at HP balances more workplace flexibility with structured time together to collaborate and connect in person at our HP sites. Our goal is to provide the ability to work seamlessly across a diverse ecosystem of workplaces, enabled by enhanced tools and technology designed to optimize productivity and collaboration.
In summary, we aim to cultivate a healthy, supportive and inclusive environment that enables employees to do their best work, while developing themselves and reaching their full potential.
Information about our Executive Officers
The following are our current executive officers:
Harvey Anderson; age 58; Chief Legal Officer
Mr. Anderson has served as Chief Legal Officer since February 2021. Previously, he served as General Counsel from November 2019 to January 2021. Mr. Anderson joined HP in 2017 as deputy general counsel for the Personal Systems and 3D Printing business units. Prior to joining HP, he served as chief legal officer at AVG Technologies, a leading provider of software security solutions, from 2014 to 2019. He has also held senior legal roles at Mozilla Corporation, Seven Networks, and Netscape/AOL.
Alex Cho; age 49; President, Personal Systems
Mr. Cho has served as President, Personal Systems since June 2018. From 2014 to 2018, Mr. Cho served as Global Head and General Manager of Commercial Personal Systems. Prior to that role, Mr. Cho served as the Vice President and General Manager of the LaserJet Supplies team from 2010 to 2014.
Enrique Lores; age 56; President and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Lores has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since November 2019. Throughout his over 30-year tenure with the company, Mr. Lores held leadership positions across the organization, most recently serving as President, Printing, Solutions and Services from November 2015 to November 2019, and prior to that role, leading the Separation Management Office for HP Inc. Previously, Mr. Lores was the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Business Personal Systems. Before his Business Personal Systems role, Mr. Lores was Senior Vice President of Customer Support and Services.
Kristen Ludgate; age 58; Chief People Officer
Ms. Ludgate has served as Chief People Officer since July 2021. Previously, Ms. Ludgate served as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at 3M, a global technology company, from June 2018 until July 2021. Ms.
Ludgate held a wide range of leadership positions during her 17 years with 3M, leading global teams in human resources, legal, compliance, and communications.
Marie Myers; age 53; Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Myers has served as Chief Financial Officer since February 2021, previously serving as acting Chief Financial Officer from October 2020 to February 2021. She served as Chief Transformation Officer from June 2020 to May 2021 and as Chief Digital Officer from March 2020 to June 2020. Prior to rejoining HP, she was the Chief Financial Officer of UiPath, a robotic process automation company, from December 2018 to December 2019. Prior to UiPath, Ms. Myers served as Global Controller from December 2015 to December 2018 and finance lead during the separation of Hewlett-Packard Company into HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company from October 2014 to August 2015, in addition to other finance-related roles at Hewlett-Packard Company.
Christoph Schell; age 50; Chief Commercial Officer
Mr. Schell has served as Chief Commercial Officer since November 2019. From November 2018 to October 2019, he served as the President of 3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing. Before that, he served as President of the Americas region from November 2015 to November 2018 and managed the Americas region for the HP Print and Personal Systems business from August 2014 to November 2015. Prior to rejoining HP in August 2014, Mr. Schell served as Executive Vice President of the Lighting business in Growth Markets at Philips. Prior to Philips, Mr. Schell held various roles at HP and Procter & Gamble.
Tuan Tran; age 54; President of Imaging, Printing and Solutions
Mr. Tran served as President of Imaging, Printing and Solutions since November 2019. Previously, he served as Global Head & General Manager of the Office Printing Solutions business from 2016 to November 2019, and Global Head & General Manager of the LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions business from 2014 to 2016.
Barb Barton Weiszhaar; age 58; Acting Global Controller
Ms. Weiszhaar has served as Acting Global Controller since June 2021. Previously, she served as the Chief of Staff for the Chief Financial Officer and Operations Lead, a position she had held since April 2020. Prior to April 2020, she served as HP's Chief Tax Officer from November 2015 to March 2020 and in other leadership roles, including Chief Operations Officer for Tax, prior to the November 2015 separation of Hewlett-Packard Company into HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. Ms. Weiszhaar joined Hewlett-Packard Company following its acquisition of EDS in 2008; at EDS she served as Tax Director.
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ITEM 1A. Risk Factors.
The following discussion of risk factors contains forward-looking statements. These risk factors may be important for understanding any statement in this Form 10-K or elsewhere. The following information should be read in conjunction with Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes in Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Form 10-K.
Because of the following factors, as well as other variables affecting our results of operations, past financial performance may not be a reliable indicator of future performance, and historical trends should not be used to anticipate results or trends in future periods.
STRATEGIC AND OPERATIONAL RISKS
Our business, results of operations and financial condition have been, and could continue to be, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the actions taken by governments, businesses and individuals in response to the pandemic have resulted in, and are expected to continue to result in, a curtailment of business activities (including changes in demand for a broad variety of goods and services), weakened economic conditions, disruptions in supply, manufacturing and logistics, economic uncertainty and volatility in the financial markets, both in the United States and abroad.
The COVID-19 pandemic, including its resurgence in key markets, has impacted, and could adversely impact, our operations and financial performance. COVID-19 related restrictions impacted the demand for certain products and services as a result of temporary closures of offices and businesses, the shift to a hybrid work environment, and as people moved to spend more time at home, which negatively impacted sales for commercial products in both Personal Systems and Print. For as long as remote working and learning practices remain prevalent, whether due to restrictions implemented by governmental authorities or businesses allowing employees to continue to work remotely or adopting new workplace models, we expect decreased sales of products for in-office consumption in some markets and channels compared to pre-pandemic levels. While this decrease in demand for certain products has been partially offset by increased sales of other products for in-home consumption compared to pre-pandemic levels, we are unable to predict for how long or to what extent this elevated level of sales of products for in-home consumption will continue. Additionally, as the market continues to shift to hybrid, our financial performance will depend in part on our ability to remain competitive in products designed for hybrid consumption.
Moreover, our channel partners have experienced, and may continue to experience, disruptions in their operations due to restrictions implemented in response to COVID-19, which has caused, and may continue to cause, reduced, or cancelled orders and/or collection risks. This has further adversely impacted our results of operations and we expect it may continue to have a negative impact on our results of operations.
Additionally, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and new variants of the virus emerge, we are seeing a resurgence of the pandemic in certain key markets. We have experienced temporary factory closures and other disruptions in supply, manufacturing and logistics as a result of COVID-19, and we may continue to experience such disruptions. For example, our manufacturing sites, including those in Asia, as well as those of our suppliers and outsourcing partners, were adversely impacted as a result of quarantines, facility closures, and travel and logistics challenges. These disruptions have resulted and may continue to result in supply shortages and delays impacting sales worldwide for both Personal Systems and Print, as well as incremental costs. We may experience further disruptions in the future, and any prolonged disruptions to our manufacturing operations, supply chain and/or distribution channels could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
We are also facing increased operational challenges as we take measures to support and protect employee health and safety, including limiting employee travel, limiting access to facilities and offices, implementing remote work and flexible work policies and implementing a vaccine policy for employees. In particular, our remote work arrangements pose challenges for our employees and our IT systems and extended periods of remote work arrangements could strain our business continuity plans, introduce operational risk, including cybersecurity and IT systems management risks, and impair our ability to manage our business. In addition, complying with various customer or government vaccine, masking or testing requirements, could result in increased competition for skilled talent, and could adversely impact our ability to deliver services to our customers, which could in turn adversely impact our results of operations or financial performance.
The effects of COVID-19 may also limit the resources afforded to or delay the implementation of our strategic initiatives and make it more difficult to develop, manufacture and market innovative products and services. If our strategic initiatives are delayed or otherwise modified, such initiatives may not achieve some or all of the expected benefits, which could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The ultimate impact of COVID-19 on our operations and financial performance depends on many factors that are not within our control, including: the duration, scope and severity of the pandemic, including the impact of variants and resurgences; the development, availability and public acceptance of effective treatments or vaccines; governmental, business
and individuals’ actions that have been and continue to be taken in response to the pandemic; general economic uncertainty in global markets and financial market volatility; global economic conditions and levels of economic growth; and the pace of recovery when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
Further, COVID-19, and the volatile regional and global economic conditions stemming from the pandemic, could precipitate or aggravate the other risk factors that we identify in this report, any of which could materially adversely impact our business. We also face an increased risk of litigation and governmental and regulatory scrutiny as a result of the effects of COVID-19 on economic and market conditions. COVID-19 may also affect our business and financial results in ways that are not presently known to us or that we do not currently consider as significant risks to our operations.
We are heavily dependent on third-party suppliers and supply chain issues have adversely affected, and could continue to adversely affect, our financial results.
We are operating in a supply-constrained environment and are facing, and may continue to face, component shortages, logistics challenges and manufacturing disruptions that impact our revenues and profitability. We are heavily dependent on third-party suppliers and their ability to deliver sufficient quantities of key components, products and services at reasonable prices and in time for us to meet schedules for the delivery of our products and services. In addition, our operations depend on our ability to anticipate and our suppliers’ ability to fulfill, our needs for sufficient quantities of key components, products and services (including sourcing matched sets). Given the wide variety of products and services we offer, the large and diverse distribution of our suppliers and contract manufacturers, and the long lead times required to manufacture, assemble and deliver certain components and products, problems have and could continue to arise in production, planning and inventory management, and regulatory compliance that could seriously harm our business. Third-party suppliers may have limited financial resources to withstand challenging business conditions, particularly as a result of increased interest rates or emerging market volatility, and our business could be negatively impacted if key suppliers are forced to cease or limit their operations. Due to the international nature of our third-party supplier network, our financial results may also be negatively impacted by increased trade barriers, increased tariffs and localization requirements, which could increase the cost or availability of certain components, products and services that we may not be able to offset. We also have experienced, and may experience in the future, gross margin declines in certain businesses, reflecting the effect of items such as competitive pricing pressures and increases in component and manufacturing costs resulting from higher labor and material costs borne by our manufacturers and suppliers that we are unable to pass on to our customers. In addition, our business may be disrupted if we are unable to obtain equipment, parts or components from our suppliers—and our suppliers from their suppliers—due to the insolvency of key suppliers or the inability of key suppliers to obtain credit, or if any of our distributors lack sufficient financial resources to withstand economic weakness. In addition, our ongoing efforts to optimize the efficiency of our supply chain could cause supply disruptions and be more expensive, time-consuming and resource-intensive than expected. Furthermore, certain of our suppliers and Outsourced Manufacturers (“OMs”) may decide to discontinue business with us or limit the allocation of products to us, which could result in our inability to fill our supply needs, jeopardizing our ability to fulfill our contractual obligations, which could in turn, result in a decrease in sales and profitability, contract penalties or terminations, and damage to customer relationships. Other supplier problems that we could face include component shortages, excess supply, risks related to the terms of our contracts with suppliers, risks associated with contingent workers, risks related to supply chain working conditions, human rights and materials sourcing, and risks related to our relationships with single-source suppliers, each of which is described below.
•Component shortages. We have and may continue to experience a shortage of, or a delay in receiving, certain components as a result of strong demand, capacity constraints, supplier financial weaknesses, the inability of suppliers to borrow funds, disputes with suppliers (some of whom are also our customers), disruptions in the operations of component suppliers, other problems experienced by suppliers or problems we face during the transition to new suppliers. For example, we have experienced disruptions in our manufacturing and supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic, which have resulted in temporary supply shortages that have negatively affected our ability to fulfill demand for Personal Systems and Printing products worldwide and resulted in increases in prices for certain components, and we expect such challenges to continue during 2022. For example, there is currently a market shortage of integrated circuits and panels and other component supply which has affected, and could continue to affect, lead times, the cost of that supply, and our ability to meet customer demand for our products if we cannot secure sufficient supply in a timely manner or on terms that are acceptable. Additionally, our Personal Systems business relies heavily upon OMs to manufacture our products and we are therefore dependent upon the continuing operations of those OMs to manufacture our products to fulfill demand. We represent a substantial portion of the business for certain OMs, and any changes to the nature or volume of our business transactions with a particular OM could adversely affect the operations and financial condition of the OM and lead to shortages or delays in receiving component products from that OM. If shortages or delays in component products persist, the price of certain components may increase further, we may be exposed to quality issues, or the components may not be available at all. We may not be able to secure enough components at reasonable prices or of acceptable quality to build products or provide services in a timely manner in the quantities needed or according to our specifications. Accordingly, our business, cash flows, results of operations and financial condition could suffer if we lose time-sensitive sales, incur additional freight costs or are
unable to pass on price increases to our customers due to such component shortages or delays. If we cannot adequately address a component supply issue, we may have to re-engineer some product or service offerings, which could result in further costs and delays.
•Excess supply. In order to secure components for our products or services, we have and may continue to make advance payments to suppliers or enter into non-cancelable commitments with vendors. In addition, we have and may continue to strategically purchase components in advance of demand to take advantage of favorable pricing or to address concerns about future availability. If we fail to anticipate customer demand properly, a temporary oversupply could result in excess or obsolete components, which could adversely affect our business and financial performance.
•Contractual terms. As a result of binding long-term price or purchase commitments with vendors, we may be obligated to purchase components or services at prices that are higher than those available in the current market and may be limited in our ability to respond to changing market conditions. If we commit to purchasing components or services for prices in excess of the then-current market price, we may be at a disadvantage to competitors who have access to components or services at lower prices, our gross margin could suffer, and we could incur additional charges relating to inventory obsolescence. In addition, many of our competitors obtain products or components from the same OMs and suppliers that we utilize. Our competitors may obtain better pricing, more favorable contractual terms and conditions, or more favorable allocations of products and components during periods of limited supply, and our ability to engage in relationships with certain OMs and suppliers could be limited. The practice employed by our Personal Systems business of purchasing product components and transferring those components to OMs may create large supplier receivables with the OMs that, depending on the financial condition of the OMs, may create collectability risks. In addition, in order to secure components, we may accept contractual terms and conditions that are less favorable to us. Any of these developments could adversely affect our future cash flows, results of operations and financial condition.
•Contingent workers. We also rely on third-party suppliers for the provision of contingent workers, and our failure to effectively manage this workforce could adversely affect our results of operations. Our ability to manage the costs associated with engaging a contingent workforce may be impacted by evolving local labor rights laws.
•Working conditions, human rights and materials sourcing. Our brand perception, customer loyalty and legal compliance could be adversely impacted by a supplier’s improper practices or failure to comply with our requirements for environmentally, socially or legally responsible practices and sourcing, including those in our Supplier Code of Conduct, General Specification for the Environment or other related provisions in our procurement contracts. These provisions include supplier audits, reporting of smelters, human rights due diligence, wood fiber certification and GHG emissions, water and waste data.
•Single-source suppliers. We obtain a significant number of components from a single source due to technology, availability, price, quality or other considerations. For example, we rely on Canon for certain laser printer engines and laser toner cartridges. We also rely on both Intel and AMD to provide us with a sufficient supply of processors for the majority of our PCs and workstations. Some of those processors may be customized for our products. New products that we introduce may utilize custom components obtained initially from only one source until we have determined whether there is a need for additional suppliers. Replacing a single-source supplier could delay production of some products as replacement suppliers may be subject to capacity constraints or other output limitations. For some components, alternative sources may not exist or may be unable to produce the quantities of those components necessary to satisfy our production requirements. In certain circumstances, we purchase components from single-source suppliers under short-term agreements that contain favorable pricing and other terms, but that may be unilaterally modified or terminated by the supplier with limited notice and with little or no penalty. The performance of single-source suppliers under those agreements (and the renewal or extension of those agreements upon similar terms) may affect the quality, quantity and price of our components. The loss of, deterioration of our relationship with, or limits in allocation by, a single-source supplier, or any unilateral modification to the contractual terms under which we are supplied components by a single-source supplier could adversely affect our business and financial performance.
If we cannot successfully execute our strategy and continue to develop, manufacture and market innovative products, services and solutions, our business and financial performance may suffer.
Our strategy is to strengthen our core businesses, innovate and develop new products, services and solutions, expand into adjacencies, and grow organically and inorganically. To execute our strategy, we must, among other things, optimize our cost structure, make long-term investments, develop or acquire and appropriately protect intellectual property, commit significant research and development and other resources, evolve our go-to-market strategy and Printing business model to meet changing market dynamics, forces and demand as well as innovate, develop and execute on evolutionary strategies in a rapidly changing and increasingly hybrid environment, seize on disruptive opportunities and effectively respond to secular trends and shifts in customer preferences. As the market continues to shift to hybrid, our financial performance will depend in part on our ability to remain competitive in offerings geared towards hybrid consumption. Any failure to successfully execute our strategy, including any failure to invest sufficiently (or prioritize research and development) in strategic growth areas, accurately predict technological or business trends and control costs of research and development, could adversely affect adoption of our products, services and solutions and our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
Moreover, the process of developing new high-technology products, services and solutions and enhancing existing products, services and solutions is complex, costly and uncertain, and any failure by us to anticipate or respond to customers’ changing needs (or the timing of those needs) and emerging technological trends accurately could affect our market share, cash flows, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, our ability to successfully offer our products, services and solutions in this rapidly evolving market requires an effective planning, forecasting, and management process to enable us to effectively calibrate and adjust our business and business models in response to fluctuating market opportunities and conditions. We could also be adversely affected if we have not appropriately prioritized and balanced our initiatives or if we are unable to effectively manage change throughout our organization. For example, we may adjust production levels in response to demand fluctuations and in order to improve the alignment of our resources to business conditions.
Our industry is subject to rapid and substantial innovation and technological change. Even if we successfully develop new products and technologies, future products and technologies, including those created by our competitors, may eventually supplant ours if we are unable to keep pace with technological advances and end-user requirements and preferences and timely enhancement of our existing products and technologies or develop new ones. As a result, we could fail to maintain market leadership in certain of our products, such as commercial PCs and notebooks, and any of our products and technologies may be rendered uneconomical or obsolete.
After we develop a product, we must be able to quickly manufacture appropriate volumes while also managing costs and preserving or improving margins. To accomplish this, we must accurately forecast volumes, mixes of products and configurations that meet customer requirements, and we may not succeed in doing so within a given product’s lifecycle or at all. Any delay in the development, production or marketing of a new product, service or solution could result in us not being among the first to market, which could further harm our competitive position. Moreover, new products and services may not be profitable, and even if they are profitable, the operating margins may not be as high as the historical or anticipated margins.
We operate in an intensely competitive industry and competitive pressures could harm our business and financial performance.
We encounter aggressive competition from competitors in all areas of our business, and our competitors have targeted and are expected to continue targeting our key market segments. In addition, we are expanding into new disruptive and competitive businesses, such as services. We compete on the basis of our technology, innovation, performance, price, quality, reliability, brand, reputation, distribution, range of products and services, ease of use, account relationships, customer training, service and support, security, availability of application software and internet infrastructure offerings, and our sustainability performance. If our products, services, support and cost structure do not enable us to compete successfully, our results of operations, cash flows and business prospects could be affected.
We have a large portfolio of products and must allocate our financial, personnel and other resources across all of our products while competing with companies that have smaller portfolios or specialize in one or more of our product lines. As a result, we may invest less in certain areas of our business than our competitors, and our competitors may have greater financial, technical and marketing resources available for their products and services compared to the resources allocated to our competing products and services or greater economies of scale, which could in turn result in our inability to maintain market leadership in certain of our products, such as commercial PCs and notebooks.
Our alliance partners in certain areas may be or may become our competitors in others. In addition, these partners also may acquire or form alliances with our competitors, which could reduce their business with us. If we are unable to effectively manage these complicated relationships with alliance partners, our business and financial results could be adversely affected.
We have faced and may continue to face aggressive price competition and may have to lower the prices of many of our products and services to stay competitive, while at the same time trying to maintain or improve our revenue and gross margin. In addition, competitors who have a greater presence in some of the lower-cost markets in which we compete, or who can obtain better pricing, more favorable contractual terms and conditions, and/or more favorable allocations of products and components during periods of limited supply, may be able to offer lower prices than we are able to offer. Our cash flows, results of operations and financial condition may be adversely affected by these and other industry-wide pricing pressures.
Industry consolidation may also affect competition by creating larger, more homogeneous and potentially stronger competitors in the markets in which we operate. Additionally, our competitors may affect our business by entering into exclusive arrangements with our existing or potential customers or suppliers.
Because our business model is based on providing innovative and high-quality products and services, we may spend a proportionately greater percentage of our revenues on research and development than some of our competitors. If we cannot proportionately decrease our cost structure (apart from research and development expenses) on a timely basis in response to competitive price pressures, our gross margin and profitability could be adversely affected. In addition, if our pricing and other facets of our offerings are not sufficiently competitive, or if there is negative reception to our product decisions, we may lose market share in certain areas, which could adversely affect our financial performance and business prospects.
Even if we are able to maintain or increase market share for a particular product, the financial performance of that product could decline because the product is in a maturing industry or market segment or contains technology that is becoming
obsolete. Financial performance could also decline due to increased competition from other types of products, services or solutions. For example, non-original supplies (including imitation, refill or remanufactured alternatives), which are often available at lower prices, compete with our Printing Supplies business and we may not be able to prevent the use of imitation print supplies with our printers using technological protection measures.
Customers are increasingly using online and omnichannel retailers, resellers and distributors to purchase our products. These retailers, resellers and distributors often sell our products alongside competing products, including non-original supplies, or they may highlight the availability of lower cost non-original supplies. We expect this competition will continue, and it may negatively impact our financial performance, particularly if large commercial customers purchase competing products instead of HP products.
If we cannot continue to produce high-quality and secure products and services, our reputation, business and financial performance may suffer.
In the course of conducting our business, we must address quality and security issues associated with our products and services, including potential defects in our engineering, design and manufacturing processes, unsatisfactory performance under service contracts, and unsatisfactory performance or malicious acts by third-party contractors or subcontractors. Our business is also exposed to the risk of defects in third-party components included in our products, including security vulnerabilities. In order to address quality and security issues, we work extensively with our customers and suppliers and engage in product testing to determine the causes of problems and to develop and implement effective solutions. However, the products and services that we offer are complex, and our regular testing and quality control efforts may not be completely effective in controlling or detecting all quality and security issues or errors, particularly with respect to undiscovered defects or security vulnerabilities in components manufactured by third parties.
If we are unable to determine the cause or find an effective solution to address quality or security issues with our products, we may delay shipment to customers, which would delay revenue recognition and receipt of customer payments and could adversely affect our net revenue, cash flows and profitability. We have and may again in the future write off some or all of the value of non-performing inventory. In addition, after products are delivered, quality and security issues may require us to repair or replace such products. Addressing these issues can be expensive and may result in additional warranty, repair, replacement and other costs, adversely affecting our financial performance. In the event of security vulnerabilities or other issues with third-party components, we may have to rely on third parties to provide mitigation such as firmware updates. Furthermore, these mitigation techniques may be ineffective or may result in adverse performance, system instability and data loss or corruption, and are not always available on a timely or cost effective basis, or at all. If new or existing customers have difficulty operating our products or are dissatisfied with our services, our results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected, and we have faced and could potentially continue to face legal claims if we fail to meet our customers’ expectations. In addition, quality and security issues, including those resulting from defects or security vulnerabilities in third-party components, can impair our relationships with new or existing customers and adversely affect our brand and reputation, which could, in turn, adversely affect our cash flows, results of operations and financial condition.
Our operating results have historically varied and may not be indicative of future results.
Our net revenue, gross margin, profit and cash flow generation vary among our portfolio of products and services, customer groups and geographic markets and therefore will likely continue to vary in future periods. Overall gross margins and profitability in any given period are dependent on the product, service, customer and geographic mix reflected in that period’s net revenue, which in turn depends on the overall demand for our products and services. Delays or reductions in spending by our customers or potential customers could have a material adverse effect on demand for our products and services, which could result in a significant decline in net revenue. In addition, net revenue declines in some of our businesses may affect net revenue in our other businesses, as we may lose cross-selling opportunities. Competition, lawsuits, investigations, increases in component and manufacturing costs that we are unable to pass on to our customers, increased tariffs, component supply disruptions and other risks affecting our businesses may also have a significant impact on our overall gross margin, profitability and cash flow. In addition, newer geographic markets can be relatively less profitable due to our investments associated with entering those markets and local pricing pressures, as well as difficulty establishing and maintaining the operating infrastructure necessary to support the high growth rate associated with some of those markets. Market trends, industry shifts, competitive pressures, commoditization of products, increased component or shipping costs, increased tariffs, regulatory impacts and other factors may result in reductions in revenue or pressure on gross margins in a given period, which may lead to adjustments to our operations. For example, our supplies business has experienced declining revenues due to declines in installed base and usage. Our efforts to address the challenges facing our business could increase the level of variability in our financial results because the rate at which we are able to realize the benefits from those efforts may vary from period to period. These factors could also make it difficult to accurately forecast revenues and operating results and could negatively affect our ability to provide accurate forecasts to suppliers and manufacturers, manage our relationships and other expenses and to make decisions about future investments.
If we fail to manage the distribution of our products and services properly, our business and financial performance could suffer.
We use a variety of distribution methods to sell our products and services around the world, including third-party resellers and distributors and both direct and indirect sales to enterprise accounts and consumers. Successfully managing our global, multi-tier distribution network including the interaction of our direct sales and indirect channel sales efforts to reach potential customer segments for our products and services is a complex process. Moreover, since each distribution method has distinct risks and gross margins, any failure to implement the most advantageous balance in the delivery model for our products and services could adversely affect our net revenue and gross margins, and therefore, our profitability and cash flows.
Our financial results could be materially adversely affected due to distribution channel conflicts or if the financial conditions of our channel partners were to weaken. Our results of operations may be adversely affected by any conflicts that might arise between our various distribution channels, the loss or deterioration of any alliance or distribution arrangement or reduced assortments of our products, if we are not able to limit the potential misuse of pricing programs by our channel partners or we fail to optimize the use of our pricing programs. Moreover, some of our distributors may have insufficient financial resources and may not be able to withstand changes in business conditions, including economic weakness, industry consolidation and market trends. They may also have difficulty selling our products under new business models. Many of our significant distributors operate on narrow margins and have been negatively affected by business pressures in the past. Trade receivables that are not covered by collateral or credit insurance are outstanding with our distribution and retail channel partners. Net revenue from indirect sales could suffer, and we could experience disruptions in distribution, if our distributors’ financial conditions, abilities to borrow funds or operations weaken or if our distributors cannot successfully compete in the online or omnichannel marketplace.
Our inventory management is complex, as we continue to sell a significant mix of products through distributors. We must manage both owned and channel inventory effectively, particularly with respect to sales to distributors, which involves forecasting demand and pricing challenges (and factoring in supply chain challenges and order cancellations resulting from any pricing increases). Our forecasts may not accurately predict demand, and distributors may increase orders during periods of product shortages, cancel orders if their inventory is too high or delay orders in anticipation of new products. Distributors also may adjust their orders in response to the supply of our products and the products of our competitors and seasonal fluctuations in end-user demand. Our reliance upon indirect distribution methods, including a multi-tiered channel, may reduce our visibility into inventories, demand and pricing trends and issues, and may therefore make forecasting and managing multi-tiered channel inventory more difficult.
If we were to expand direct distribution initiatives, channel and indirect distributors could consider such initiatives in conflict with their business interests and reduce their investment in the distribution and sale of our products, or cease all sales of our products. Sales of our products by channel partners to unauthorized resellers or unauthorized resale of our products has and could continue to make our forecasting and channel inventory management more difficult and impact pricing in the market. For example, in the past we have had channel partners sell products outside of their agreed territory, and misrepresent sales to unauthorized resellers as sales to end-users, frustrating our efforts to estimate channel inventory or maintain consistent pricing, and negatively impacting gross margins. Moreover, our use of indirect distribution channels may limit our willingness or ability to adjust prices quickly and otherwise to respond to pricing changes by competitors. In addition, factors in different markets may cause differential discounting between the geographies where our products are sold, which makes it difficult to achieve global consistency in pricing and creates the opportunity for grey marketing.
In addition, we depend on our global channel partners to comply with applicable legal and regulatory requirements. To the extent they fail to do so, such failure could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, cash flows and financial condition.
Our uneven sales cycle makes planning and inventory management difficult and future financial results less predictable.
Our quarterly sales often have reflected a pattern in which a disproportionate percentage of each quarter’s total sales occurs towards the end of the quarter. This uneven sales pattern makes predicting net revenue, earnings, cash flow from operations and working capital for each financial period difficult, increases the risk of unanticipated variations in our quarterly results and financial condition, and places pressure on our inventory management and logistics systems. If predicted demand is substantially greater than orders, there may be excess inventory. Alternatively, if orders substantially exceed predicted demand, we may not be able to fulfill all of the orders received in each quarter and such orders may be canceled by the customer. Depending on when they occur in a quarter, developments such as a systems failure, component pricing movements, component shortages, supply disruptions or logistics challenges could adversely impact our inventory levels, our results of operations and cash flows in a manner that is disproportionate to the number of days in the quarter affected.
We experience seasonal trends in the sale of our products that may produce variations in our quarterly results and financial condition. For example, sales to governments (particularly, sales to the U.S. government) are often stronger in the third calendar quarter, and many customers whose fiscal year is the calendar year spend their remaining capital budget authorizations in the fourth calendar quarter. Consumer sales are often higher in the fourth calendar quarter due in part to seasonal holiday demand, and typically it has been our strongest quarter by revenues. European sales are often weaker during
the summer months. Demand during the spring and early summer may also be adversely impacted by market anticipation of seasonal trends. However, historical seasonal patterns may not continue in the future and such patterns have been and may continue to be impacted by increasing supply constraints, shifts in customer behavior and the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, to the extent that we introduce new products in anticipation of seasonal demand trends, our discounting of existing products may adversely affect our gross margins. Many of the factors that create and affect seasonal trends are beyond our control.
We may not be able to execute acquisitions, divestitures and other significant transactions successfully.
As part of our business strategy, we may acquire companies or businesses, divest businesses or assets, enter into strategic alliances and joint ventures, and make investments to further our business. Risks associated with these transactions include the following, any of which could adversely affect our revenue, gross margin, profitability, cash flows and financial condition:
•We may not fully realize the anticipated benefits of any particular transaction, in the timeframe we expected or at all, such transaction may be less profitable than anticipated or unprofitable, we may not identify all factors to estimate accurately our costs, timing or other matters, and realizing the benefits of a particular transaction may depend upon competition, market trends, additional costs or investments and the actions of advisors, suppliers or other third parties.
•Certain transactions have resulted, and in the future may result, in significant costs and expenses, including those related to compensation and benefit costs, goodwill and impairment charges, charges from the elimination of duplicative facilities and contracts, inventory adjustments, assumed litigation and other liabilities, advisory fees, and required payments to executive officers and key employees under retention plans.
•Our due diligence process may fail to identify significant issues with the acquired company’s product quality, financial disclosures, accounting practices or internal controls, including as a result of being dependent on the veracity and completeness of statements and disclosures made or actions taken by third parties.
•In order to finance a transaction, we may issue common stock (potentially creating dilution) or borrow additional debt.
•These transactions could adversely impact our effective tax rate.
•These transactions may lead to litigation.
•If we fail to identify, successfully complete and integrate transactions that further our strategic objectives, we may be required to expend resources to develop products, services and technology internally, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage
If there are future decreases in our stock price or significant changes in the business climate or results of operations of our reporting units, we may incur additional charges, which may include impairment charges.
As part of our business strategy, we regularly evaluate the potential disposition of assets and businesses that may no longer help us meet our objectives. When we decide to sell assets or a business, we may have difficulty finding buyers or alternative exit strategies on acceptable terms in a timely manner, which could delay the achievement of our strategic objectives. We may also dispose of a business at a price or on terms that are less desirable than we had anticipated. In addition, we may experience fewer synergies than expected, and the impact of the divestiture on our revenue growth may be larger than projected. After reaching an agreement for the acquisition or disposition of a business, we are subject to satisfaction of pre-closing conditions as well as necessary regulatory and governmental approvals on acceptable terms, which, if not satisfied or obtained, may prevent us from completing the transaction. Such regulatory and governmental approvals may be required in jurisdictions around the world, and any delays in the timing of such approvals could materially delay or prevent the transaction.
Integrating acquisitions may be difficult and time-consuming. Any failure by us to integrate acquired companies, products or services into our overall business in a timely manner could harm our financial results, business and prospects.
To pursue our strategy successfully, we have to identify candidates for and successfully complete business combination and investment transactions, some of which may be large or complex, and manage post-closing issues such as the integration of acquired businesses, products, services or employees. Integrations involve significant challenges and are often time-consuming and expensive and, without proper planning and implementation, could significantly disrupt our business and the acquired business. These challenges include successfully combining product and service offerings; entering or expanding into markets; retaining key employees; integrating employees, facilities, technology, products, processes, operations (including supply and manufacturing operations), sales and distribution channels, business models and business systems; and retaining customers and distributors.
We may not achieve some or all of the expected benefits of our restructuring plan and our restructuring may adversely affect our business.
We have undertaken and may undertake in the future restructuring plans in order to realign our cost structure due to the changing nature of our business and to achieve operating efficiencies that we expect to reduce costs. For example, we began implementing the 2020 restructuring plan in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 and expect to complete the restructuring by the end of fiscal 2022. Implementation of any restructuring plan may be costly and disruptive to our business, and we may not be
able to obtain the estimated workforce reductions within the projected timing or at all, or obtain the cost savings and operational improvements that were initially anticipated. We currently plan to invest a portion of the savings from our 2020 restructuring plan across our businesses, including investing to build our digital capabilities. If we are unable to obtain the anticipated cost savings, our ability to make those investments, realize operational improvements and execute our strategy may be negatively impacted. Additionally, as a result of restructuring initiatives, we may experience a loss of continuity, loss of accumulated knowledge and/or inefficiency, loss of key employees and/or other retention issues during transitional periods. Restructuring can require a significant amount of time and focus, which may divert attention from operating and growing our business. If we fail to achieve some or all of the expected benefits of restructuring, it could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. For more information about our 2020 restructuring plan, see Note 3 to our Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8.
Our financial performance may suffer if we cannot develop, obtain, license or enforce the intellectual property rights on which our businesses depend.
We rely upon patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret and other intellectual property (“IP”) laws in the United States, similar laws in other countries, and agreements with our employees, customers, suppliers and other parties, to establish and maintain IP rights in the products and services we sell, provide or otherwise use in our operations. However, our IP rights could be challenged, invalidated, infringed or circumvented, or such IP rights may not be sufficient to permit us to take advantage of current market trends or to otherwise provide competitive advantages, either of which could result in costly product redesign efforts, discontinuance of certain product offerings or other harm to our competitive position. For example, the enforcement of our IP rights for InkJet printer supplies against infringers may be successfully challenged or our IP rights may be successfully circumvented. In addition, we may choose to not apply for patent protection or may fail to apply for patent protection in a timely fashion. Further, the laws of certain countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States. Therefore, in certain jurisdictions we may be unable to protect our proprietary technology adequately against unauthorized third-party copying or use, which could adversely affect our ability to sell products or services and our competitive position.
In connection with the Separation, Hewlett-Packard Company allocated to each of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP the IP assets relevant to their respective businesses. The terms of the Separation also include cross-licenses and other arrangements to provide for certain ongoing use of IP in the existing operations of both businesses. As a result of the allocation of IP as part of the Separation, we no longer own IP allocated to Hewlett Packard Enterprise and our resulting IP ownership position could adversely affect our position and options relating to patent and trademark enforcement, patent licensing and cross-licensing, our ability to sell our products or services, our competitive position in the industry and our ability to enter new product markets.
Our products and services depend in part on IP and technology licensed from third parties.
Certain of our businesses and products rely on key technologies developed or licensed by third parties. We may not be able to obtain or continue to obtain licenses and technologies from these third parties at all or on reasonable terms, or such third parties may demand cross-licenses to our IP. Third-party components may become obsolete, defective or incompatible with future versions of our products, our relationship with the third party may deteriorate, or our agreements may expire or be terminated. We may face legal or business disputes with licensors that may threaten or lead to the disruption of inbound licensing relationships. In order to remain in compliance with the terms of our licenses, we must monitor and manage our use of third-party components, including both proprietary and open source license terms that may require the licensing or public disclosure of our IP without compensation or on undesirable terms. Additionally, some of these licenses may not be available to us in the future on terms that are acceptable or that allow our product offerings to remain competitive. Our inability to obtain licenses or rights on favorable terms could have a material effect on our business, including our financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. In addition, it is possible that as a consequence of a merger or acquisition, third parties may obtain licenses to some of our IP rights or our business may be subject to certain restrictions that were not in place prior to such transaction. Because the availability and cost of licenses from third parties depends upon the willingness of third parties to deal with us on the terms we request, there is a risk that third parties who license to our competitors will either refuse to license to us or refuse to license to us on terms equally favorable to those granted to our competitors. Consequently, we may lose a competitive advantage with respect to these IP rights or we may be required to enter into costly arrangements in order to terminate or limit these rights. Finally, we may rely on third parties to enforce certain IP rights.
Third-party claims of IP infringement are commonplace in our industry and may limit or disrupt our ability to sell our products and services.
Third parties have in the past claimed, and may in the future claim, that we or customers indemnified by us are infringing upon their IP rights. For example, patent assertion entities may purchase IP assets for the purpose of asserting claims of infringement and attempting to extract settlements and we have seen trends towards assertions of patents originally assigned to operating companies with significant R&D investments and patents asserted against standards-based technology. If we cannot or do not license allegedly infringed IP at all or on reasonable terms, or if we are required to substitute technology from another source, our operations could be adversely affected. Even if we believe that IP claims are without merit, they can be
time-consuming and costly to defend against and may divert management’s attention and resources away from our business. Claims of IP infringement also might require us to redesign affected products, enter into costly settlements or license agreements, pay damage awards, or face a temporary or permanent injunction prohibiting us from importing, marketing or selling certain products. Even if we have an agreement to indemnify us against such costs, the indemnifying party may be unable or unwilling to fulfill its contractual obligations to us. Additionally, claims of IP infringement may adversely impact our brand and reputation and imperil new and existing customer relationships.
Our results of operations and cash flows have been and could continue to be affected by the imposition, accrual and payment of copyright levies or similar fees. In certain countries (primarily in Europe), proceedings are ongoing or have been concluded in which groups representing copyright owners seek to impose upon and collect from us levies upon IT equipment (such as PCs and printers) alleged to be copying devices under applicable laws. Other groups have also sought to modify existing levy schemes to increase the amount of the levies that can be collected from us. Some European countries are expected to implement legislation to introduce or extend existing levy schemes to digital devices. The total amount of the copyright levies will depend on the types of products determined to be subject to the levy, the number of units of those products sold during the period covered by the levy, and the per unit fee for each type of product, all of which are affected by several factors, including the outcome of ongoing litigation involving us and other industry participants and possible action by legislative bodies, and could be substantial. Consequently, the ultimate impact of these copyright levies or similar fees, and our ability to recover such amounts through increased prices, remains uncertain.
System security risks, data protection breaches, cyberattacks, system outages and systems integration issues could disrupt our internal operations or services provided to customers, and could reduce our revenue, increase our expenses, damage our reputation and adversely affect our cash flows and stock price.
We are exposed to attacks from individuals and organizations, including malicious computer programmers and hackers, state-sponsored organizations, nation-states or other bad actors, seeking to penetrate our network security and misappropriate or compromise our confidential information or that of third parties, create system disruptions or cause shutdowns. Such attacks may involve the deployment of viruses, worms, ransomware and other malicious software programs that attack our products or otherwise exploit security vulnerabilities, or attempt to fraudulently induce our employees, customers, or others to disclose passwords, other sensitive information or provide access to our systems or data. In addition, sophisticated hardware and operating system software and applications that we produce or procure from third parties may contain defects or vulnerabilities in design or manufacture, including “bugs” that could unexpectedly interfere with the operation of the product. Breaches of our facilities, network, or data security could disrupt the security of our systems and business applications, impair our ability to provide services to our customers and protect the privacy of their data, result in product development delays, compromise confidential or technical business information, harm our reputation or competitive position, result in theft or misuse of our IP or other assets, require us to allocate more resources to improve technologies, or otherwise adversely affect our business. Additionally, the costs to combat cyber or other security threats can be significant, and our efforts to address these problems may not be successful and could result in interruptions, delays, cessation of service and loss of existing or potential customers that may impede our sales, manufacturing, distribution or other critical functions. Media or other reports of perceived security vulnerabilities in our network security, regardless of their immediacy or accuracy, could adversely impact our brand and reputation and materially affect our business. While we have developed and implemented security measures and internal controls designed to protect against cyber and other security threats, such measures cannot provide absolute security and may not be successful in preventing future security breaches. Moreover, these threats are constantly evolving, thereby making it more difficult to successfully defend against them or to implement adequate preventative measures. We may not have the current capability to detect certain vulnerabilities, which may allow those vulnerabilities to persist in our systems over long periods of time. In the past, we have experienced data security incidents resulting from unauthorized access to or use of our systems or those of third parties, which to date, have not had a material impact on our operations; however, there is no assurance that such impact will not be material in the future. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work and remote access to our systems has increased significantly, which also increases our cybersecurity attack surface. We have also seen an increase in cyberattack volume, frequency, and sophistication driven by the global enablement of remote workforces. Our products and services are potentially vulnerable to additional known or unknown threats.
Because we process proprietary information and sensitive or confidential data relating to our business and our customers, breaches of our security measures or accidental loss, inadvertent disclosure or unapproved dissemination of such data can expose us, our customers, or the individuals affected to a risk of loss, alteration or misuse of such information. A breach could also damage our brand and reputation or otherwise harm our business, and could result in government enforcement actions, litigation and potential liability for us. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) imposes a data protection compliance regime with severe penalties and China has recently adopted new privacy and security laws. In the United States, California has adopted, and several other states are now considering adopting, laws and regulations imposing varying obligations regarding the handling of personal data, which could result in increased compliance costs. Additionally, we could lose existing or potential customers or incur significant expenses in connection with our customers’ system failures or any actual or perceived security vulnerabilities in our products and services. In addition, the cost and operational consequences of implementing new data protection measures could be significant.
Portions of our IT infrastructure, including those provided by third parties, may experience interruptions, outages, delays or cessations of service or may produce errors in connection with systems integrations, migration work or other causes, which could result in business disruptions and the process of remediating them could be more expensive, time-consuming, disruptive and resource intensive than planned. Such disruptions could adversely impact our ability to fulfill orders and respond to customer requests and interrupt other processes. Delayed sales, lower margins or lost customers resulting from these disruptions could reduce our revenue, increase our expenses, damage our reputation and adversely affect our cash flows and stock price.
Our business and financial performance could suffer if we do not manage the risks associated with our services businesses properly.
The risks that accompany our services businesses differ from those of our other businesses. For example, the success of our services business (such as our managed print services, digital services and other workforce solutions in both Printing and Personal Systems) depends to a significant degree on attracting, retaining, and maintaining or increasing the level of revenues from our customers. Our standard services agreements are generally renewable at a customer’s option and/or subject to cancellation rights, with or without penalties for early termination. We may not be able to retain or renew services contracts with our customers, or our customers may reduce the scope of the services they contract for. Factors that may influence contract termination, non-renewal or reduction include business downturns, dissatisfaction with our services or products, our retirement or lack of support for our services, our customers selecting alternative technologies, the cost of our services as compared to our competitors, general market conditions, or other reasons. We may not be able to replace the revenue and earnings from lost customers or reductions in services. While our services agreements may include penalties for early termination, these penalties may not fully cover our investments in these businesses. Our customers could also delay or terminate implementations or use of our services or choose not to invest in additional services from us in the future. In addition, the pricing and other terms of certain services agreements require us to make estimates and assumptions at the time we enter into these contracts that could differ from actual results. Any increased or unexpected costs or unanticipated delays in connection with the performance of these contracts, which may increase as services become more customized, could make these agreements less profitable or unprofitable, which could have an adverse effect on the product margin of our services business. As a result, we may not generate the revenues, profits or cash flows we may have anticipated from our services business within the expected timelines, if at all.
In order to be successful, we must attract, retain, train, motivate, develop and transition key employees, and failure to do so could seriously harm us.
In order to be successful, we must attract, hire, retain, train, motivate, develop, and deploy qualified executives, engineers, technical staff and other key employees. Identifying, developing internally or hiring externally, training and retaining qualified executives, engineers and qualified sales representatives are critical to our future, and competition for experienced employees in the technology industry can be intense. In order to attract and retain executives and key employees, we must provide competitive compensation, including cash- and equity-based compensation. Our equity-based incentive awards may contain conditions relating to our stock price performance and our long-term financial performance that make the future value of those awards uncertain. If we reduce, modify or eliminate our equity programs or fail to grant equity competitively or equitably or if the anticipated value of equity-based incentive awards do not materialize or equity-based compensation otherwise ceases to be viewed as a valuable benefit, we may have difficulty attracting and retaining top talent. There may also be a risk that we will be unable to achieve our diversity, equity and inclusion objectives, which could adversely impact our workplace culture and our ability to hire and retain talent, as well damage our reputation with stockholders, customers and other stakeholders. Additionally, changes in immigration policies may impair our ability to recruit and hire technical and professional talent globally. A failure to successfully hire or retain top talent could have a significant impact on our business continuity and operations. Further, changes in our management team may be disruptive to our business, and any failure to successfully transition and assimilate key new hires or promoted employees could adversely affect our business and results of operations. Moreover, as social and economic conditions evolve due to the COVID-19 pandemic, current and prospective employees may seek new or different opportunities based on factors such as benefits, mobility and flexibility that are different from what we offer, making it difficult to attract and retain talent.
Some anti-takeover provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of Delaware law, could impair a takeover attempt.
Certain provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and the Delaware General Corporation Law may discourage, delay or prevent changes of control of HP judged as undesirable by our Board of Directors. These provisions include: authorizing blank check preferred stock, which we could issue with voting, liquidation, dividend and other rights superior to our common stock; limiting the liability of, and providing indemnification to, our directors and officers; specifying that our stockholders may take action only at a duly called annual or special meeting of stockholders and otherwise in accordance with our bylaws and limiting the ability of our stockholders to call special meetings; requiring advance notice of proposals by our stockholders for business to be conducted at stockholder meetings and for nominations of candidates for
election to our Board of Directors; and controlling the procedures for our Board of Directors and stockholder meetings, and election, appointment and removal of our directors.
These provisions could deter or delay hostile takeovers, proxy contests and changes in control or our management or limit the opportunity for our stockholders to receive a premium for their shares of our stock.
MACROECONOMIC, INDUSTRY AND FINANCIAL RISKS
Global, regional and local economic weakness and uncertainty could adversely affect our business and financial performance.
Our business and financial performance depend on worldwide economic conditions and the demand for technology products and services in the markets in which we compete. Ongoing economic weakness, uncertainty in markets throughout the world and other adverse economic conditions, including inflation, have resulted, and may result in the future, in decreased net revenue, gross margin, earnings, growth rates or cash flows and in increased expenses and difficulty in managing inventory levels and accurately forecasting revenue, gross margin, cash flows and expenses. Ongoing U.S. federal government spending limits may continue to reduce demand for our products and services from organizations that receive funding from the U.S. government, and could negatively affect macroeconomic conditions in the United States, which could further reduce demand for our products and services. Political developments impacting international trade, trade disputes and increased tariffs, particularly between the United States and China, may negatively impact markets and cause weaker macroeconomic conditions or drive political or national sentiment, weakening demand for our products and services.
Prolonged or more severe economic weakness and uncertainty could also cause our expenses to vary materially from our expectations. Any financial turmoil affecting the banking system and financial markets or any significant financial services institution failures could negatively impact our treasury operations, as the financial condition of such parties may deteriorate rapidly and without notice. Poor financial performance of asset markets combined with lower interest rates and the adverse effects of fluctuating currency exchange rates could lead to higher pension and post-retirement benefit expenses. Interest and other expenses could vary materially from expectations depending on changes in interest rates, borrowing costs, currency exchange rates, costs of hedging activities and the fair value of derivative instruments. There is uncertainty regarding the timing of the discontinuation, modification or reform of LIBOR and other interest rate benchmarks and the implementation of alternative reference rates, including the secured overnight financing rate or SOFR. Any such discontinuation, modification or reform could result in an increase in our interest expense or make our interest expense more volatile. Economic downturns also may lead to future restructuring actions and associated expenses.
Due to the international nature of our business, political or economic changes, uncertainty or other factors could harm our business and financial performance.
Approximately 65% of our net revenue for fiscal year 2021 came from outside the United States. In addition, a portion of our business activity is being conducted in emerging markets. Our future business and financial performance could suffer due to a variety of international factors, including:
•ongoing instability or changes in a country’s or region’s economic, regulatory or political conditions, including inflation, recession, interest rate fluctuations, changes or uncertainty in fiscal or monetary policy, actual or anticipated military or political conflicts, health emergencies or pandemics (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) or Brexit and its impact;
•longer collection cycles and financial instability among customers;
•the imposition by governments of additional taxes, tariffs or other restrictions on foreign trade or changes in restrictions on trade between the United States and other countries, including China;
•trade and other policies, laws and regulations affecting production, shipping, pricing and marketing of products, including policies adopted by the United States or other countries that may champion or otherwise favor domestic companies and technologies over foreign competitors or other country localization requirements;
•political or nationalist sentiment impacting global trade, including the willingness of non-U.S. consumers to purchase goods or services from U.S. corporations;
•managing a geographically dispersed workforce and local labor conditions and regulations, including labor issues faced by specific suppliers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (“OEMs”), or changes to immigration and labor law which may adversely impact our access to technical and professional talent;
•changes or uncertainty in the international, national or local regulatory and legal environments, including tax laws and antitrust laws;
•differing technology standards, customer requirements or levels of protection of intellectual property;
•import, export or other business licensing requirements or requirements relating to making foreign direct investments, which could increase our cost of doing business in certain jurisdictions, prevent us from shipping products to particular
countries or markets, affect our ability to obtain favorable terms for components, increase our operating costs or lead to penalties or restrictions;
•stringent privacy and data protection policies, such as the GDPR;
•compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, U.S. export control and trade sanction laws, and similar anti-corruption and international trade laws, and adverse consequences, such as fines or other penalties, for any failure to comply; and
•fluctuations in freight costs, limitations on shipping and receiving capacity, and other disruptions in the transportation and shipping infrastructure at important geographic points for our products and shipments.
The factors described above also could disrupt our product and component manufacturing and key suppliers located outside of the United States and our supply chain. For example, we rely on manufacturers in Taiwan for the production of notebook computers and other suppliers in Asia for product assembly and manufacture.
We are exposed to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, which could adversely impact our results.
Currencies other than the U.S. dollar, including the euro, the British pound, Chinese yuan (renminbi) and the Japanese yen, can have an impact on our results as expressed in U.S. dollars. Global economic events, including trade disputes, economic sanctions and emerging market volatility, and the resulting uncertainty, may cause currencies to fluctuate, which may contribute to variations in sales of our products and services in impacted jurisdictions. Because a majority of our revenues are generated outside the United States, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely affect our net revenue growth in future periods. In addition, currency variations can adversely affect margins on sales of our products in countries outside of the United States and products that include components obtained from suppliers located outside of the United States. From time to time, we may use forward contracts and/or options designated as cash flow hedges to protect against foreign currency exchange rate risks. Our hedging strategies may be ineffective or may not offset any or more than a portion of the adverse financial impact resulting from currency variations. Losses associated with hedging activities also may impact our revenue, financial condition, cash flows and, to a lesser extent, our cost of sales.
Business disruptions could seriously harm our future revenue, cash flows and financial condition and increase our costs and expenses.
Our worldwide operations could be disrupted by earthquakes, telecommunications failures, manufacturing equipment failures, cybersecurity incidents, power or water shortages, natural disasters, fires, extreme weather conditions (whether as a result of climate change or otherwise) such as those described in “Climate change may have a long-term impact on our business” below, medical epidemics or pandemics (such as COVID-19) and other natural or man-made disasters or catastrophic events, for which we are predominantly self-insured. Terrorist acts, conflicts or wars, for which we are predominantly uninsured, may also disrupt our worldwide operations. The occurrence of any of these business disruptions could result in significant losses, seriously harm our revenue, profitability, cash flows and financial condition, adversely affect our competitive position, increase our costs and expenses, require substantial expenditures and recovery time in order to fully resume operations, make it difficult or impossible to provide services or deliver products to our customers or to receive components from our suppliers, create delays and inefficiencies in our supply chain and/or result in the need to impose employee travel restrictions. Our corporate headquarters and a portion of our research and development activities are located in California, and other critical business operations and some of our suppliers are located in California and Asia, near major earthquake faults known for seismic activity. The manufacture of product components, the final assembly of our products and other critical operations are concentrated in certain geographic locations that may be vulnerable to such natural disasters. We also rely on major logistics hubs primarily in Asia to manufacture and distribute our products, and primarily in the southwestern United States to import products into North and South America. Our operations and those of our significant suppliers and distributors could be adversely affected if manufacturing, logistics, or other operations in these locations are disrupted for any reason, such as those described above or other economic, business, labor, environmental, public health, regulatory or political reasons. The ultimate impact on us, our significant suppliers, our distributors and our general infrastructure, which may be located near areas more vulnerable to the occurrence of the aforementioned business disruptions and which is consolidated in certain geographical areas, is unknown and remains uncertain. Even if our operations are unaffected or recover quickly, if our customers cannot timely resume their own operations due to a catastrophic event, they may reduce or cancel their orders, or these events could otherwise result in a decrease in demand for our products, which may adversely affect our financial performance.
Climate change may have a long-term impact on our business.
There are inherent climate-related risks wherever our business is conducted. Changes in market dynamics, stakeholder expectations, local, national and international climate change policies, and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events on critical infrastructure in the United States and abroad, all have the potential to disrupt our business and operations. Such events could result in a significant increase in our costs and expenses and harm our future revenue, cash flows and financial performance. Global climate change is resulting, and may continue to result, in certain natural disasters and adverse weather, such as drought, wildfires, storms, sea-level rise, and flooding, occurring more frequently or with greater intensity, which could cause business disruptions and impact employees’ abilities to commute or to work from home effectively. For example, the increasing intensity of droughts, wildfires or extreme weather conditions at our office locations increase the
probability of planned power outages. Government failure to address climate change in line with the Paris Agreement could result in greater exposure to economic and other risks from climate change and impact our ability to achieve our climate goals. In addition, failure or perception of failure to achieve our goals (including as a result of governmental inaction) with respect to reducing our impact on the environment or perception of a failure to act responsibly with respect to the environment or to effectively respond to regulatory requirements concerning climate change could lead to adverse publicity, resulting in an adverse effect on our business or damage to our reputation.
Failure to maintain our credit ratings could adversely affect our liquidity, capital position, borrowing costs and access to capital markets.
Our credit risk is evaluated by the major independent rating agencies. Past downgrades of Hewlett-Packard Company’s ratings increased the cost of borrowing under our credit facilities and reduced market capacity for our commercial paper. Future downgrades could have the same effect, and could also require the posting of additional collateral under some of our derivative contracts. We cannot be assured that we will be able to maintain our current credit ratings, and any additional actual or anticipated changes or downgrades in our credit ratings, including any announcement that our ratings are under further review for a downgrade, may impact us in a similar manner and may have a negative impact on our liquidity, capital position and access to capital markets.
Our debt obligations could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
In addition to our current total debt, we may also incur additional indebtedness in the future. Our debt level and related debt service obligations could have the effect, among other things, of reducing our flexibility to respond to changing business and economic conditions, and reducing funds available for working capital, capital expenditures, dividend repayments, acquisitions, and other general corporate purposes. Our indebtedness increases our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions. We may also be required to raise additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, debt service obligations, debt refinancing, future acquisitions or for other general corporate purposes, which will depend on, among other factors, our financial position and performance, as well as prevailing market conditions and other factors beyond our control, and could be adversely impacted by our debt level. Consequently, we may not be able to obtain additional financing or refinancing on terms acceptable to us, or at all, which could adversely impact our ability to service our outstanding indebtedness or to repay our outstanding indebtedness as it becomes due and could adversely impact our business and financial condition.
We cannot guarantee that our share repurchase program will be fully consummated or that it will enhance long-term stockholder value.
We have adopted a share repurchase program under which we are authorized to repurchase our common stock. The repurchase program does not have an expiration date and we are not obligated to repurchase a specified number or dollar value of shares under our share repurchase program. Our repurchase program may be suspended or terminated at any time. Even if our share repurchase program is fully implemented, it may not enhance long-term stockholder value. Also, the amount, timing, and execution of our share repurchase program may fluctuate based on our priorities for the use of cash for other purposes and because of changes in cash flows, tax laws, and the market price of our common stock.
We make estimates and assumptions in connection with the preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements, and any changes to those estimates and assumptions could adversely affect our results of operations.
In connection with the preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements, we use certain estimates and assumptions based on historical experience and other factors. Our most critical accounting estimates are described in the section entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Item 7 of this report. For example, we make significant estimates and assumptions when accounting for revenue recognition, taxes on earnings and restructuring and other charges. In addition, as discussed in Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, we make certain estimates, including decisions related to provisions for legal proceedings and other contingencies. We also estimate sales and marketing program incentives based on a number of factors including historical experience, expected customer behavior and market conditions. These estimates and assumptions are subject to significant uncertainties, some of which are beyond our control. Should any of these estimates and assumptions change or prove to have been incorrect, it could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
LEGAL AND REGULATORY RISKS
Our business is subject to various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations that could result in costs or other sanctions that adversely affect our business and results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations. There can be no assurance that such laws and regulations will not be changed in ways that will require us to modify our business models and objectives or affect our returns on investments by restricting existing activities and products, subjecting them to escalating costs or increased restrictions or prohibiting them outright. In particular, we face increasing complexity in our product design and procurement operations as we adjust to new and future requirements relating to the chemical and materials composition of our products, their safe use, the energy consumption associated with those products, climate change laws and regulations, and product repairability, reuse and take-back legislation. In addition, there are existing and proposed legislation related to environmental
and social responsibility for our operations, supply chain partners, and our products and services. Noncompliance with these laws and regulations could result in substantial costs or other penalties, which may include restrictions on our products entering certain jurisdictions. We could also face significant compliance and operational burdens and incur significant costs in our efforts to comply with or rectify non-compliance with these laws or regulations, such as privacy regulations. In addition, these laws or regulations could result in loss of market access or limit offerings in those markets. Such burdens or costs may result in an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Our potential exposure includes fines and civil or criminal sanctions, third-party property damage, personal injury claims and clean-up costs. Further, liability under some environmental laws relating to contaminated sites can be imposed retroactively, on a joint and several basis, and without any finding of noncompliance or fault. The amount and timing of costs to comply with environmental laws are difficult to predict. Moreover, we are expected to become increasingly subject to laws, regulations and international treaties relating to climate change, such as carbon pricing or product energy efficiency requirements. As these new laws, regulations, treaties and similar initiatives and programs are adopted and implemented, we will be required to comply or potentially face market access limitations or other sanctions, including fines.
We are subject to risks associated with litigation and regulatory proceedings.
We face legal claims or regulatory matters involving stockholder, consumer, competition, commercial, IP, employment, and other issues on a global basis. There is an increasingly active litigation and regulatory environment, including but not limited to employment and patent-monetization claims in the United States and litigation and regulatory matters focused on consumer protection, privacy, and competition regulation globally. As described in Note 14, “Litigation and Contingencies” to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8, we are engaged in a number of litigation and regulatory matters that may have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, cash flows or results of operations, if decided adversely to or settled by us. Litigation and regulatory proceedings are inherently uncertain, and adverse rulings have occurred and may occur, including awards of monetary damages, imposition of fines, issuance of injunctions or cease-and-desist orders directing us to cease engaging in certain business practices, cease manufacturing or selling certain products, requiring the compulsory licensing of patents, or requiring other remedies. An unfavorable outcome may result in a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, cash flows or results of operations. In addition, regardless of the outcome, litigation and regulatory proceedings can be costly, time-consuming, disruptive to our operations, and distracting to management.
Failure to comply with our customer and partner contracts or government contracting regulations could adversely affect our business and financial performance.
Our contracts with our customers may include unique and specialized performance requirements. In particular, our contracts with federal, state, provincial and local governmental customers are subject to procurement regulations, contract provisions and other specific requirements relating to their formation, administration and performance. Any failure by us to comply with the specific provisions in our customer contracts or any violation of government contracting regulations could result in the imposition of civil and criminal penalties, which may include termination of contracts, forfeiture of profits, suspension of payments and, in the case of our government contracts, fines and suspension from future government contracting. Such failures could also cause reputational damage to our business and affect our ability to compete for new contracts. Additionally, some of our agreements with governmental customers may be subject to periodic funding approval. Funding reductions or delays could adversely impact public sector demand for our products and services. If our customer contracts are terminated, if we are suspended or disbarred from government work, or if our ability to compete for new contracts is adversely affected, our financial performance could suffer. Our partner contracts also contain terms relating to new partner business models and tools creation that could raise issues for which laws or regulations are currently changing or emerging. This could affect us in ways that are not currently fully known or measurable.
Changes in our tax provisions, adverse tax audits, the adoption of new tax legislation, or exposure to additional tax liabilities could have a material impact on our financial performance.
We are subject to income and other taxes in the United States and approximately 60 other countries, and we are subject to routine corporate income tax audits in many of these jurisdictions. We believe that the positions taken on our tax returns are fully supported, but tax authorities may challenge these positions, and our positions may not be fully sustained on examination by the relevant tax authorities. We regularly assess the likely outcomes of these audits in order to determine the appropriateness of our tax provision, and, we believe we have provided adequate reserves for all tax deficiencies or reductions in tax benefits that could reasonably result from an audit. Our accrual for uncertain tax positions is attributable primarily to uncertainties concerning the tax treatment of our domestic operations, including the allocation of income among different jurisdictions, intercompany transactions, pension and related interest. We adjust our uncertain tax positions to reflect the impact of negotiations, settlements, rulings, advice of legal counsel, and other information and events pertaining to a particular audit. Determining the appropriate provision for potential deficiencies or reductions in in tax benefits that could reasonably result from an audit requires management judgments and estimates, and income tax audits are inherently unpredictable. We may not accurately predict the outcomes of these audits, and the amounts ultimately paid upon resolution of audits could be materially different from the amounts previously included in our income tax provision and, therefore, could have a material impact on our income tax provision, net income and cash flows.
Our effective tax rate in the future could be adversely affected by changes to our operating structure, changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, or changes in tax laws or in their interpretation or enforcement. In addition, changes in tax law and regulation in the U.S. or elsewhere could significantly impact our tax rate, the carrying value of deferred tax assets, or our deferred tax liabilities. For example, the U.S. Congress has advanced a variety of tax legislation proposals, and while the final form of any legislation is uncertain, the current proposals, if enacted, could have a material effect on the Company’s effective tax rate. Our effective tax rate could also be materially affected by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s, the European Commission’s and other certain major jurisdictions’ heightened interest in and taxation of large multi-national companies.
RISKS RELATED TO THE SEPARATION
We or Hewlett Packard Enterprise may fail to perform under the transaction agreements executed as part of the Separation.
In connection with the Separation, we and Hewlett Packard Enterprise entered a separation and distribution agreement and various other agreements. The separation and distribution agreement provides for cross-indemnities between HP and Hewlett Packard Enterprise for liabilities allocated to the respective party pursuant to the terms of such agreement. If Hewlett Packard Enterprise or its successor entities (including spun off businesses to which obligations have been transferred) are unable to satisfy their obligations under these agreements, we could incur operational difficulties or losses that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.