Lexmark Fourth-Quarter Profit Falls

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Lexmark International, the No. 2 U.S. computer printer maker, reported Thursday lower fourth-quarter net income as earnings were hurt by continued market weakness.

Lexington, Ky.-based Lexmark, second in the competitive printer market after leader Hewlett-Packard, said revenues for the current first quarter were likely to be flat with a year-ago, but down sequentially from the fourth quarter due to normal seasonal trends. It forecast earnings per share within the current range of Wall Street estimates.

Lexmark said net income fell to $36.8 million, or 27 cents a share, compared to $55.0 million, or 42 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding nonrecurring charges, earnings were 46 cents a share in fourth quarter 2001. The Wall Street consensus estimate was 44 cents, with forecasts ranging 41 to 48 cents, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Revenues were $1.15 billion, up 5 percent from the same period the prior year.

"We expect gross profit margin to improve sequentially due to a higher mix of supplies, and earnings per share to be in the range of 43 to 53 cents," Lexmark Chief Executive Paul Curlander said in a statement.

The Wall Street consensus for the first quarter is for earnings of 48 cents a share, with a range of 41 to 57 cents, according to First Call.

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