Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) said Thursday that it had signed a contract with the Swedish government to provide approximately 260 million Euro (US$284 million) worth of hardware, including desktop PCs, portable PCs and accessories, in a deal that expands the company’s reach in the public sector.

The agreement is part of a 650 million Euro (US$709 million) IT contract issued by the Swedish Agency for Public Management, which is responsible for co-ordinating information and communication purchases for the public administration.

HP is one of nine IT suppliers selected for the deal, which is valid until Jan. 31, 2005, and will supply up to 40 per cent of the hardware to be provided

The Palo Alto, California, company won another contract with the Swedish government last year, to provide servers and storage for 166 million Euro (US$181 million).

In addition to price and quality considerations, HP said that it was selected because it met rigorous corporate social and environmental responsibility requirements set by the agency, which included factors such as accessibility for people with disabilities.

This is the second multi-million dollar European negotiation the company has announced this week. Monday HP said it was nearing an outsourcing agreement with the Bank of Ireland valued US$600 million.