Xerox boosts Q1 profits despite sales downturn

David Ward, San Diego
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Xerox cited weakness in its Document Technology business, which includes the iGen commercial press line, as it reported Q1 sales declined by 2.7% over the same period in 2012 to $5.4bn.

Despite that decline, the Norwalk, CT-headquartered company did manage to boost first quarter net income by 10% to $296m.

Under the leadership of CEO Ursula Burns, Xerox has been pushing to transition from its traditional office/commercial print and equipment business and more into business services, with a publicly stated goal of having 66% of its revenues come from services by 2017.

During a conference call with analysts to discuss the first quarter results, Burns said: "During the first quarter, we delivered results in our Services business that align with our growth strategy and our expectations. However, we fell short in our Document Technology business, which put pressure on our overall results."

Burns did tout the introduction of ConnectKey, a software system for Xerox multifunction printers, which began shipping in Q1.

"For the balance of 2013, here's what will contribute to revenue improvement: a full launch of ConnectKey; new high-end color systems, including advanced iGen presses and the addition of Impika inkjet printers; and expanded coverage of SMB through our global imaging distributors and through additional indirect channel partners," she added.

Along with the continued push into services, Burns told the analysts the company focused on reducing costs, noting: "We're making progress in taking costs out of a legacy infrastructure, but we need to accelerate this progress especially in Europe."

She also cited ongoing uncertainty about the global economy in keeping some business from investing in new equipment and services, adding: "We saw that in our Document Technology business primarily. From a geographic perspective, Europe remains weak. And in the first quarter, it had some shocks that weakened it even further. And we did see a slowdown, a bit of slowdown in some developing market economies. U.S. remains stable but weak. I mean, we have not seen a pickup in the U.S. Sequestration didn't hurt us a whole lot. It didn't help us. It continued to keep decision-making slow."

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