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Xerox Tops Forecast as Net Loss Narrows

January 29, 2002|From Times Wire Services

STAMFORD, Conn. — Xerox Corp. reported Monday a fourth-quarter net loss of $4 million, citing weak economic conditions that contributed to a 13% decline in revenue.

The Stamford-based printer and copier company's per-share loss amounted to 1 cent, narrower than the year-earlier loss of $20 million, or 4 cents a share.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were $108 million, or 15 cents a share. That exceeded the consensus estimate of a loss of 1 cent a share from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Xerox shares were up $1.34, or 14%, to close at $11.24 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Xerox, which has posted losses for more than a year, hailed the operating profit as evidence of its successful turnaround effort. That initiative, announced more than a year ago, includes the reduction of thousands of jobs and the sale of billions of dollars in assets. Xerox's year-end employment was 78,900, down 13,600 from the end of 2000.

"Today's results are all about execution--the precise execution of a turnaround strategy that has significantly strengthened Xerox's core operations while effectively positioning the company to exploit future market opportunities in its production, office and services business," said Xerox Chief Executive Anne M. Mulcahy.

Mulcahy said in October after the third-quarter results that she was "cautiously optimistic" about returning to operating profitability in the fourth quarter.

Fourth-quarter revenue was $4.26 billion, down from $4.88 billion. Sales declined 26% in developing markets, Xerox said.

In other technology earnings Monday:

* Nextel Partners Inc., which sells wireless-telephone service in smaller U.S. markets under the Nextel brand, posted a wider loss as costs rose 77%.

The fourth-quarter loss widened to $78.2 million, or 33 cents a share, from $75.3 million, or 32 cents, a year earlier. Per-share results include preferred dividends. Sales more than doubled, rising to $120.8million from $53.4 million, as the Kirkland, Wash.-based company added 81,700 customers.

Costs rose as the company began operations in more U.S. markets. Growth in the wireless industry is slowing, as almost 50% of Americans carry cell phones. Shares of Nextel Partners rose 4 cents to $6.97 on Nasdaq.

* Texas Instruments Inc., the No.1 maker of chips for mobile phones, Monday posted a fourth-quarter loss as world demand remained weak for cell phones and other communications equipment powered by TI semiconductors.

The Dallas-based manufacturer posted a pro forma loss of $105 million, or 6 cents a share, contrasted with a profit of $549 million, or 31 cents, a year earlier. The company said it expected first-quarter results to return to "about break-even" and revenue to be "about level with the fourth quarter."

The fourth-quarter consensus forecast was a loss of 9 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call. Revenue fell 41% to $1.79 billion. Pro forma numbers are adjusted to reflect a number of one-time charges and gains, TI said.

TI was up 95 cents at $28.40 on the NYSE.

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