Q4 Earnings Slip to $90.2M for Pitney Bowes

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Pitney Bowes Inc., the $4 billion international provider of integrated mail and document management solutions, yesterday reported lower fourth-quarter net earnings, hurt by weakness in its mail metering business and the U.S. economic slump in general.


The Stamford, Conn.-based company reported net income of $90.2 million, down from $148.3 million in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $1.1 billion from $978.5 million a year earlier.


"During the quarter, we continued to experience the pressures of a slowing economy in the U.S. and around the world, as many of our customers delayed purchase or upgrade decisions," Michael J. Critelli, Pitney Bowes' chairman/CEO, said in a statement. "We have also seen some of our customers consolidate and downsize their operations, resulting in reduced demand for some of our higher-value mailing products and outsourcing services."


Special items in the quarter included a non-cash pre-tax charge of $10 million associated with the company's plan to move to digital mailing technology, and a pre-tax restructuring charge of $28 million, Pitney Bowes said.


There also was a pre-tax charge of about $24 million associated with the settlement of a lawsuit related to lease upgrade pricing in the 1990s, the company said.


Pitney Bowes said it expects current economic conditions to persist into 2002. However, Critelli said the company plans to launch "additional digital networked mailing systems throughout 2002 which will enable companies to access new mailing services at a lower cost, which in turn will allow businesses to operate more efficiently."


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