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Lexmark reports Q1 growth of 25 percent

Press release from the issuing company

LEXINGTON, Ky., April 19 -- Lexmark International, Inc. today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2004. Revenue increased 13 percent to $1.256 billion and earnings per share were 91 cents, up 25 percent from a year ago. "Our first quarter results came in above our expectation and marked the third consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth," stated Paul J. Curlander, Lexmark chairman and CEO. "These strong results reflect Lexmark's exclusive focus on printing solutions and the power of our supplies-driven business model." Gross profit was $411 million or 32.7 percent of revenue for the quarter, versus $356 million or 32.1 percent a year ago. The higher gross profit margin was due to improved product margins, somewhat offset by a higher mix of printer revenue. Operating expense for the first quarter was $246 million compared to $228 million in the same period of 2003. Operating income was $165 million or 13.2 percent of revenue versus $129 million or 11.6 percent of revenue a year earlier. Net earnings were $121 million in the first quarter, up 28 percent from $95 million reported a year ago. Diluted net earnings per share for the period were 91 cents, an increase of 25 percent from 73 cents in the prior year. Lexmark's debt-to-total-capital ratio at March 31, 2004 was 8 percent, unchanged from December 31, 2003. Capital expenditures were $23 million in the first quarter. New products raise the price/performance standard During the first quarter, Lexmark unveiled an array of new inkjet printers and All-In-One (AIO) products to meet the needs of consumers and small office/home office professionals. For the photo enthusiast, a new fade-resistant ink technology is now available in printers and AIOs at best-in-class print speeds. Small businesses can benefit from several AIOs offering the latest ink technology with easy-to-use software, all priced affordably from $79 to $129. The company also launched the $699 Lexmark C510 color laser printer that delivers up to 30 pages per minute (ppm) in monochrome and 8 ppm in color. This is the latest addition to Lexmark's line of color lasers that includes the Lexmark C752L which was announced earlier in the quarter with print speeds up to 20 ppm in color. Also introduced in January was the Lexmark X422 multifunction laser, providing high-performance features for enhanced productivity at breakthrough affordability. Looking forward: "Looking forward to the second quarter, we believe that our strong lineup of printing solutions will keep us well-positioned for solid growth," Curlander stated. "While we continue to see some indications of market improvement, we remain cautious due to the uncertain economic environment and the potential for aggressive price competition. In the second quarter of 2004, we expect a year-over-year revenue growth rate of high-single to low-double digits and earnings per share to be in the range of 88 to 98 cents, versus 77 cents reported in 2003."