Xerox chief John Visentin has hailed the new Iridesse digital press for “driving new business” and exceeding expectations at the manufacturer, even though sales of high-end production devices fell in the third quarter.
Visentin replaced Jeff Jacobson as chief executive earlier this year as part of the machinations around the aborted takeover of Xerox by Fujifilm.
He described the six-colour Iridesse, which is a Fuji Xerox product, as hitting a “sweet spot” due to its ability to produce gold, silver, or white and clear dry ink in one pass.
“This allows our customers and partners to perform the same task at pennies of the cost of having to run multiple machine passes and offset processes,” he stated. “It opens up a huge opportunity for Xerox and our print provider customers in the lucrative print embellishment market and supports the movement of more pages from offset into our digital space.”
Visentin said 90% of Iridesse customers had opted to take a dry ink print station.
However, the boost from Iridesse sales was not enough to make up for lower demand for iGen presses in the US as well as for lower-end production print devices, in part due to timing issues.
A 17% decline in the number of installations resulted in a 6.9% decline (or 5.1% at constant currency) in high-end equipment sales to $94m (£72.8m) in the three months to 30 September.
Overall equipment sales fell by 3.8% to $511m, while the group’s total sales were down 5.8% to $2.35bn.
Net income more than halved, to $89m (2017: $179m), in part due to higher tax charges. However, adjusted operating profit margins increased from 12.1% to 13.1%.
During the quarter Xerox also launched a worldwide business simplification drive called ‘Project Own It’. “This will deliver a superior customer experience while setting the company up for growth,” stated Visentin.
“As I have said to our employees, we own our destiny. We have everything we need today to improve our performance. Our leadership is engaged and working with speed to transform our business. We have a lot more work to do but I am pleased with the early progress we are making.”
In a call with financial analysts, Visentin said the firm remained in regular communication with Fujifilm regarding joint venture Fuji Xerox, and on its possible future relationship with Fujifilm.
Regarding the recent court ruling in favour of Fujiflim, he commented “we don’t believe it means very much for Xerox because Xerox terminated that transaction for reasons unrelated to the injunctions”.
Visentin also said that Xerox planned to “rebuild its M&A pipeline” and was looking at opportunities in 3D printing, as well as new areas such as smart tags and printed electronics.
Xerox's new leadership team is expected to deliver the performance improvements vaunted by activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason as part of their campaign to halt the Fujifilm takeover deal.
Visentin plans to share an in-depth review of Xerox’s future strategy in February 2019.