SAN FRANCISCO, Thu May 24, 2012 – Hewlett Packard Co. plans to lay off roughly 27,000 employees or about 8 percent of its workforce over the next couple of years to jumpstart growth and save up to $3.5 billion annually, sending its shares 11 percent higher.
The company said the layoffs would be made mainly through early retirement and would generate annual savings of $3 billion to $3.5 billion as it exits fiscal year 2014, when the layoffs are expected to the completed.
The world’s No. 1 personal computer maker, which employs more than 300,000 people globally, also said on Wednesday that it had a 31 percent decline in second-quarter profit and a 3 percent decline in revenue, compared with a year ago.
The results, however, were better than Wall Street expectations.
Layoffs “adversely impact people’s lives, but in this case, they are absolutely critical to the long-term health of the company,” Chief Executive Meg Whitman said.
“This is broad based,” she said in an interview. “By design, it will touch all of HP.”
Whitman said a third of the layoffs would be in the United States. The company will take a pretax charge of $1.7 billion in fiscal 2012 related to the layoffs.
Whitman plans to boost spending on research and development, especially in printing and PCs, with the savings from the cost cuts.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said the quarter was surprisingly strong for HP, which had missed its own forecast most quarters in the last 18 months and prior to Whitman taking over as CEO.