Fitch confirms HP's A+ IDR rating

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fitch has affirmed its rating on HP's (NYSE: HPQ) long-term issuer default rating (IDR) at A+, with a stable outlook, the ratings agency reported.

The same rating was confirmed for HP's senior credit facilities and senior unsecured debt. The company's short-term IDR and commercial papers were put at F1.

Fitch said the rating was supported by HP's strong financial flexibility and liquidity provided by nearly US$13bn in cash, primarily offshore, as well as its consistent annual free cash flow above US$7bn in the last three fiscal years. Fitch is predicting that HP will close the current fiscal year, ending October 31, with US$9bn in free cash flow, compared to US$7bn in the prior year.

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On the other hand, ratings concerns include weak consumer demand in mature markets, which Fitch attributes to a shift in consumer demand priorities toward tablets and smartphones, and overall economic uncertainty, as well as the potential threat to HP's profitable printer supplies line, as the high adoption of tablets and/or remanufactured and counterfeit cartridges could affect business.

Use this link to see Fitch's full report on HP.