Lexmark Falls After Earnings Forecast Trails Estimates

Lexmark International Inc., a maker of laser and inkjet printers, fell to the lowest price in almost three years after forecasting profit that trailed analysts’ estimates as the economic weakness in Europe erodes sales.

Lexmark shares declined 13 percent to $16.77 at the close in New York, the lowest price since August 2009. The stock has tumbled 49 percent through today.

Third-quarter profit excluding some items will be 75 cents to 85 cents a share, the company said today in a statement. Analysts on average had predicted earnings on that basis of 89 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue will decline as much as 11 percent from a year earlier, it said.

Lexmark, based in Lexington, Kentucky, got 37 percent of its sales last year from the region that includes Europe, its second-biggest geographic market after the U.S. Earlier this month, Lexmark joined technology peers such as Applied Materials Inc. and Xerox Corp. in citing the economic slump in Europe when disclosing lower-than-projected results.

Second-quarter profit excluding some items was 89 cents a share, Lexmark said today. On July 12, the company said it expected to report profit of 87 cents to 89 cents a share.

Sales in the second quarter were $919 million, compared with an average analyst estimate of $922.5 million.

Lexmark forecast full-year earnings excluding some items of $3.70 to $3.90 a share, compared with the average analyst estimate of $3.87 a share. Revenue for the year will decline 8 percent to 10 percent, from the $4.18 billion in sales the company reported in 2011. Analysts had projected 2012 sales of $3.85 billion.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul Rooke said on a conference call today that the company plans to expand its management services and software business.

“We do expect to improve the profitability of our software business going forward,” Rooke said. “We’re quite capable of overcoming these challenges.”


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