HP Inc.’s (HPQ) restructuring initiatives appear to be paying off.

The PC and printer maker, dismissed by some on Wall Street as a fading technology play, has just informed investors that fiscal 2018 profits are likely to come in at the higher end of analysts' predictions. In a confident outlook statement published Thursday evening, the company also pledged to continue returning a large chunk of its growing cash pile to shareholders. Shares of the company were over 1 percent higher in pre-market trading on Friday. 

HP expects earnings per share in the range of $1.69 to $1.79 in the year to October 31, 2018, or $1.74 to $1.84 on an adjusted basis. According to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters, Wall Street expects the company to achieve $1.68 to $1.86 a share on an adjusted basis. 

HP is also confident that higher profits will translate into better cash generation. In fiscal 2018, the company predicts it will churn out “at least $3 billion” of free cash flow and plans to return between half and three-quarters of that cash to shareholders through dividends and stock repurchases.

“Fiscal 2017 has been a tremendous year for HP and we are just getting started. We’ve delivered reliable earnings and cash flow, taken profitable share, driven productivity, stabilized our core businesses, and importantly, we grew,” said Dion Weisler, president and CEO at HP. “We are well positioned to lead in the core, accelerate growth opportunities, like A3 and Graphics in Printing and commercial transformation in Personal Systems, and capture the future with 3D Printing in plastics and now metals.” 

Weisler was quick to praise the success of HP’s expansion into new, higher-profit markets, although recently it’s been the stabilization of the company’s core business that has impressed investors.

In previous years, HP's PC business has struggled with the growth of smartphones and tablets, longer upgrade cycles, and competition from rivals such as Lenovo (LNVGY). However, recent data suggests that HP is dealing with those challenges well. According to IDC, the Chinese-owned provider of market intelligence, the company grew its share of the global PC market to nearly 23 per cent, up from 21.4 percent the prior year.

Separate data released by Gartner revealed that HP is now once again the leading supplier of PCs, regaining its crown after losing it to Lenovo about four years ago. (See also: China's Lenovo Posts Q1 Loss on Higher Costs, Sluggish PC Market.)

HP’s share price has risen about 41 percent over the past year, versus an almost 20 percent rise in the S&P 500.

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