Xerox Corp. said Thursday that cost-cutting efforts last year helped boost its fourth-quarter profit. It also forecast a bigger-than-expected profit for this year.
Shares of the printer and copier maker rose 30 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $9.19 in premarket trading.
Xerox chief Ursula Burns, who took the reins last July, said the company saw improving trends in several areas, including developing markets.
But she added, "We believe revenue will continue to be under pressure until there is a more sustainable economic recovery."
Though revenue fell for the fourth quarter as businesses continued to scrimp on new equipment and supplies, Xerox said it earned $180 million, or 20 cents per share. That's up from earnings of $1 million, or break-even on a per share basis, a year earlier, when the recession was deepening as a result of the financial crisis.
Excluding charges related to its planned acquisition of outsourcer Affiliated Computer Services Inc., earnings came to 25 cents per share.
Revenue fell 3 percent to $4.2 billion. Equipment sales were down 11 percent and post-sale revenue, which includes ink and paper sales as well as services, was flat.
The results topped Wall Street projections. On average, analysts were looking for 22 cents a share on sales of $3.9 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. Analysts typically exclude special items from their estimates.
Burns said the company is still focused on keeping a lid on expenses until sales bounce back. Xerox has cut costs by laying off about 3,000 employees, reducing benefits and freezing salaries. It expects to take a $250 million charge in the first quarter related to cost-cutting moves.
The company projects earnings per share for 2010 of 75 cents to 85 cents per share, excluding special items. That was better than the 70 cents per share analysts were looking for.
Full-year earnings for 2009 came to $485 million, or 55 cents per share, up from $230 million, or 26 cents per share, in 2008. Full-year revenue slid 14 percent to $15.2 billion.
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