Xerox Earnings Enough for Unexpected Dividend Hike

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Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) is one of those old world technology companies that many investors have forgotten about. That being said, Xerox shares are up close to 60% from year-ago levels. The office equipment and copier company, and now cloud storage player, has reported earnings that at least allow for it to raise its dividend for 2014.

Xerox declared an 8.7% increase to its quarterly cash dividend to $0.0625 per share on Xerox common stock. The dividend is payable on April 30, 2014, to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014. The new dividend yield comes to 2.1%, based on the $11.76 closing price.

Furthermore, Xerox said it spent $700 million buying back stock in 2013.

Its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings came to $0.29 per share on a 3% drop in revenue to $5.57 billion. Thomson Reuters had estimates of $0.29 per share earnings and $5.64 billion in revenue. Cash flow from operations totaled $1 billion. The fourth-quarter operating margin was 9.3%, down 1.3 points, and the gross margin was 30.7%. SG&A expenses were 18.6% of revenue.

Xerox expects first-quarter earnings in a $0.23 to $0.25 per share range, versus the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.24 per share.

Full 2014 earnings were put at $1.10 to $1.16 per share, up from $1.09 per share in 2013. Thomson Reuters is calling for $1.14 per share. Xerox also said that it expects to generate operating cash flow of $1.8 billion to $2.0 billion in 2014 with no finance receivable sales planned.

The translation is that Xerox is paying out about 22% of its adjusted 2014 earnings in dividends to its common stock holders. This might not seem like a major dividend hike, nor is it among the highest yields in the technology sector, but this is actually just the second dividend hike since the recession. Xerox is also trading at only 10.4 times expected 2014 earnings.

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