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The Times 100: The Best Performing Companies in California
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Hewlett-Packard Co. : No. 2 on the Sales 100 and No. 2 on the Market Value 100

May 07, 1996|JULIE PITTA

One of the oldest computer companies is also among the fastest growing.

Venerable Hewlett-Packard's sales grew 26% during its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, making it second in size only to IBM in the computer industry. All of HP's businesses reported impressive gains, but none more so than its personal computer division. In the crowded and cutthroat U.S. PC market, HP moved up from 10th place in 1994 to fifth last year.

Solid performance continued in the first quarter ended Jan. 31, when HP's growth continued to outpace the growth of each market in which it participates. Even its oldest division--test and measurement--became a strong contributor after a turnaround breathed new life into the business and helped the company overall post another 26% sales gain.

HP has made the transition from high-margin to commodity products far more gracefully than many veteran computer companies, most notably IBM. HP's lean operation helped produce last year's 52% profit gain over 1994.

The only down note was sounded with the death of legendary HP founder David Packard in April at age 83. So far, Packard's handpicked successor Lewis Platt seems to be filling those large shoes.

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