Xerox Betters Estimate, Sees Profit This Year

Xerox (XRX) posted a first-quarter operating loss of 12 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting a loss of 28 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

The company, which has been dogged over the last year by liquidity problems, reported revenue of $4.16 billion, down 8% from $4.5 billion a year earlier.

The copier and office supply company also said it expects a loss from operations in the second quarter in line with first-quarter results. But officials indicated that they're seeing improvements.

"Xerox's performance in the first quarter is evidence of significant cash and operational improvements as well as the effectiveness of our turnaround strategy," Paul Allaire, Xerox's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. "Xerox people delivered on a commitment to improve results by winning customers' confidence and aggressively reducing costs. We are executing a successful turnaround that we expect will return Xerox to profitability this year."

Added Anne Mulcahy, president and chief operating officer, "With selling, general and administrative expenses down 5% and an unprecedented first-quarter reduction in excess of $100 million in inventory, we are clearly benefiting from the aggressive attack on our cost base and focus on operational improvements. We are ahead of schedule in implementing our cost-reduction plans and have taken actions that account for substantially more than half of our $1 billion year-end target, including the reduction of 4,300 jobs worldwide in the first quarter."

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