Xerox shares are losing ground Thursday, after the printer and document management company posted solid financial results for the fourth quarter, but said revenue will be flat to lower this year.
That downbeat forecast comes as investors await details from Xerox (ticker: XRX) on potential moves to shift the strategic direction of the business. With the enterprise printing business now showing little growth, Wall Street has been hoping for years to see Xerox take steps to unlock shareholder value.
On the company’s April 2022 earnings call, CEO John Visentin, who died unexpectedly last June, said that change was coming. “Going forward we will increasingly look to monetize investment and innovation through strategic transactions,” Visentin said at the time. “These transactions can take the form of minority investment, sales, partnerships or mergers of our businesses. We expect these transactions to create shareholder value by providing our newer businesses access to additional capital and the main expertise.”
In a presentation on the fourth-quarter results, Xerox indicated that it continues to consider its options. “We expect to provide investors with an update on specific changes to our strategy, and the associated financial implications thereof, throughout the year,” the company said.
Xerox shares were down 7.3%, to $16.15 in mid morning trading.
For the fourth quarter, Xerox posted revenue of $1.94 billion, up 9% from a year earlier, or 14% in constant currency, edging past the Street consensus forecast of $1.89 billion. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 89 cents a share in the quarter, up from 34 cents a year ago, and above consensus at 49 cents.
Under generally accepted accounting principles, the company earned 74 cents a share. Free cash flow was $168 million, down from $182 million in the year-earlier quarter.
For the full year, Xerox posted revenue of $7.1 billion, up 1%, or 4.8% adjusted for currency, with adjusted profits of $1.12 a share, down from $1.51 in the prior year.
“Resilient demand and improvements in supply chain conditions drove solid Q4 growth in revenue and profits,” CEO Steve Bandrowczak said in a statement.
For 2023, Xerox is projecting revenue will be flat to down in the low single digits in constant currency. Assuming a 2% drop, that would be about $6.96 billion, a little short of the Street consensus forecast of $7.03 billion.
The company expects at least $500 million in free cash flow, up from $143 million in 2022, but down from $561 million in 2021. It forecast adjusted operating margin of at least 4.7%, which would be up from 3.9% in 2022, but still below the 5.3% level in 2021.
Write to Eric J. Savitz at firstname.lastname@example.org