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 user 2009-08-19 at 11:15:55 am Views: 103
  • #22506
    HP Queried By SEC On Exports To Iran, Syria
    SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently queried Hewlett-Packard Co.  about sales of its products in Iran and Syria, part of what appears to be a broader inquiry of companies doing business in countries whose governments the U.S. deems to sponsor terrorism.The SEC asked Hewlett-Packard to describe sales of its products in the countries in a questionnaire sent the Palo Alto, Calif., company dated Feb. 10, according to correspondence the agency released Monday. The watchdog also asked about H-P’s business in Sudan.

    In a nine-page response dated March 12, H-P told regulators it conducted its sales in Iran through a European subsidiary, and limited products to those authorized for redistribution into Iran under U.S. regulations. It also said it had received 14 U.S. Department of Commerce licenses over the last five years to sell computers, software and related equipment for use by Syrian telecommunications companies.

    News of the inquiry come as the SEC makes public documents sent to other companies, in which it seeks information about their business in countries that have troubled relationships with the U.S. Both Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and Intel Corp. (INTC) were queried about their business ties with a range of countries. Both companies have said their practices comply with U.S. trade law.

    The U.S. considers Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba to be state sponsors of terrorism, according to the U.S. State Department Web site. As a result, the nations are subject to various embargoes and restrictions, including a ban on defense exports and U.S. foreign assistance.An H-P spokeswoman termed the correspondence “routine.” In a statement, the company said, “H-P believes that it has fully complied with the staff’s inquiry.”

    An SEC spokesperson declined to comment on the situation. However, release of documents of this nature usually indicates an inquiry has been completed.The inquiry included a request for information on sales of printers and printer supplies in Iran. The sales were conducted by H-P’s Dutch subsidiary Hewlett-Packard Europe, B.V., H-P said. The company provided products to United Arab Emirates-based distributors Redington Gulf FZE, Almasa IT Distribution FCZO and Emitac Distribution LLC, according to H-P.

    A branch of the Dutch subsidiary has since “taken steps to terminate existing agreements” with Redington Gulf, as well as some other distributors, “insofar as they may involve redistribution of such printers and printer supplies into Iran, ” H-P told the regulators.In the documents, the company didn’t say why the business arrangement had ended. Total printer sales and supplies revenue in Iran amounted to $120 million in fiscal 2008, less than a percent of the company’s global printer and toner sales.H-P said it had no agreements or contacts with the governments of Iran, Syria or the Sudan.On a day of broad losses, H-P shares fell 2.2% to $43.11 Monday.