Shares of Lexmark ( LXK) jumped 9% Tuesday after the printer maker's fourth-quarter profits blew past expectations.

The Lexington, Ky.-based company's fourth-quarter earnings rose to $99 million, or $1.04 a share, from $89.9 million, or 91 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding restructuring-related charges, earnings were $1.29 a share. That more than doubled the company's October projection for earnings of 50 cents to 60 cents a share, as well as analysts' average estimate of 58 cents a share.

Revenue slipped to $1.31 billion from $1.37 billion a year earlier. Still, the results exceeded analysts' target of $1.295 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

The results marked a rare bright spot for Lexmark, which has been struggling over the past year amid weakness in its inkjet and laser printer business. The company has been working to shift its focus to higher-usage customers who will buy more ink, which carries much bigger profits for printer makers than sales of the hardware. In October, Lexmark announced a restructuring of its inkjet division, cutting about 11% of its workforce.

"Today we're announcing fourth-quarter financial results that reflect the strategic shift we began in the second half of 2007," said Paul Curlander, Lexmark chairman and chief executive. "Although EPS greatly exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter, we have more work to do as we continue to implement our strategy to drive our growth in higher usage segments."

For the first quarter, Lexmark anticipates earnings of 80 cents to 90 cents a share, before charges. Analysts had forecast earnings of 80 cents a share.

Shares of Lexmark recently were up $2.62 to $31.96.
This article was written by a staff member of