Updated from 12:30 p.m. EDT
After a long series of financial difficulties,
acknowledged Friday that investors were questioning the copier company's liquidity, but it said they could rest assured it has available credit.
In a three-sentence statement, Xerox said it never comments on rumors and speculation, then did so, then said it plans no additional comment.
"In order to reassure the markets, the company reaffirmed it has adequate liquidity including its $7 billion revolving credit agreement, which is available through October 2002," the company said in sentence two of its statement.
Christa Carone, a spokeswoman for Xerox, said it issued the statement in response to a news service article "as well as other inquiries."
Citing "traders across Europe" and noting that the company "has struggled to address falling profit margins by implementing several costly restructurings in recent years," the
news service reported Friday that there were rumors in the European markets that the company would file for bankruptcy protection.
We're just reassuring the markets," Carone said. "No one questioned the revolving credit agreement in particular."
As markets opened in New York, the European rumors helped nudge Xerox to a new 52-week low of $10, though the stock has not closed above $12 since Oct. 2.
Xerox has "so disappointed people to this point that most of my institutional players, it's not even something that's on their radar screen," said Robert Koggan, an options trader at
, who added that he knew of the company's purportedly rumored difficulties only from reading the news service articles.
The odd statement came four days after Xerox said it would
cut its dividend by 75% in an effort to revive its finances. A week before, the company
warned that it would report an unexpected loss.
Citing weaker-than-expected revenue in North America and Europe, Xerox said on Oct. 2 that it would post a loss instead of the profit that analysts had expected in the third quarter. The loss would be Xerox's first in 16 years.
In July, Xerox
warned that its financial results for the second half of the year would be disappointing.
Xerox's stock has fallen sharply from its 52-week high of $33.50, reached a year ago. The Stamford, Conn.-based company's shares finished Friday regular trading down 81 cents, or 7%, at $10.44.
"In light of the dividend cut and in light of last week's announcement and in light of everything in the markets right now, it's understandable that, it's not shocking such rumors would take hold," said Rebecca F. Runkle, analyst for
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
, which has not done recent underwriting for the company. She rates the stock neutral.