*NEWS*KODAK PLANS TO CUT 3,000 MORE JOBS

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*NEWS*KODAK PLANS TO CUT 3,000 MORE JOBS

 user 2007-02-14 at 11:00:00 am Views: 70
  • #17465

    Kodak plans to cut 3,000 more jobs
    This
    is an undated photo provided by Eastman Kodak Co., CEO Antonio Perez is
    shown. After three long years, Eastman Kodak Co. is on track to
    complete its historic transformation this fall into a digital-imaging
    company focused on consumer photography and commercial printing, Perez
    says. “The dream when we started was that we will wake up in 2008 with
    a digital company that we wanted, and we are very close to that,”
    Antonio Perez said in an interview Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007.This is an
    undated photo provided by Eastman Kodak Co., CEO Antonio Perez is
    shown. After three long years, Eastman Kodak Co. is on track to
    complete its historic transformation this fall into a digital-imaging
    company focused on consumer photography and commercial printing, Perez
    says. “The dream when we started was that we will wake up in 2008 with
    a digital company that we wanted, and we are very close to that,”
    Antonio Perez said in an interview Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007.Eastman
    Kodak Co. is cutting 3,000 more jobs this year as the picture-taking
    pioneer wraps up its wrenching transformation into a digital-imaging
    company focused on consumer photography and commercial printing.By
    year-end, its work force will slip below 30,000, less than half what it
    was just three years ago.On top of 27,000 layoffs already targeted,
    Kodak said Thursday it is reducing its payroll even further to
    accommodate the $2.35 billion sale in January of its health-imaging
    unit and its costly foray this week into a high-margin inkjet-printer
    market dominated by Hewlett Packard Co.”The dream was that we would
    wake up in 2008 with the digital company that we want to have. We’re
    still right on that track,” Chief Executive Antonio Perez said at an
    annual meeting of Kodak analysts and institutional investors.”We will
    finish this year. This is done. … This is the last year of
    restructuring.”The company that put film cameras into nearly every home
    in America acknowledged in 2003 that its analog businesses were in
    irreversible decline. It outlined a strategy to invest in new digital
    markets governed by entrenched heavyweights such as HP, Seiko Epson
    Corp. and Canon Inc.As it battled to outrun sliding demand for film,
    its century-old cash cow, Kodak embarked on a nearly $3 billion
    shopping spree but also ran up $2 billion in net losses over eight
    straight quarters. It finally snared a $16 million profit in the
    October-December period when, for the first time, it earned more from
    digital than from film, paper and other chemical-based products.”As far
    as I’m concerned, Kodak is finally over the negative surprises,” said
    Ulysses Yannas, a broker with Buckman, Buckman & Reid. “They are
    entering a phase where increasingly profitability starts to show.”A
    year or two out from here, it will be a totally different company,”
    with profits driven by an inkjet-printer system that “probably is a lot
    bigger than anybody thinks it’s going to be.”"The inkjet introduction
    now appears to be a bet-the-company move for Kodak,” said George
    Conboy, president of Brighton Securities, a money-management firm in
    Rochester, Kodak’s hometown.”If they make a go of it, it could be very
    successful. If they don’t, they’re not going to have a second chance
    for a second act of this magnitude because the capital will not be as
    easy to come by. I don’t think it has to work in ’07 but it needs to
    show concrete results in ’08.”Kodak unveiled a trio of home printers
    Tuesday that produce documents and photos using ink cartridges that
    cost roughly half as much as the competition’s. Analysts think the move
    could trigger a price war.”We are interested in serving customers,”
    Perez said in an interview. “They said they wanted a fair, low price
    for the ink because they want to print more and they want to print with
    freedom. What the other companies are going to do, I don’t know
    honestly, don’t care much.”Kodak’s latest job cuts will bring extra
    restructuring charges of $400 million to $600 million, or total charges
    of $3.6 billion to $3.8 billion since 2004.It is now eliminating 28,000
    to 30,000 jobs by year-end, with 23,300 already axed. And the sale of
    its 111-year-old health unit, partly intended to help fund its $300
    million-plus investment in inkjet, will strip another 8,100 jobs.That
    will shrink its payroll to around 29,000, its lowest level since the
    1930s. It employed 64,000 people at the end of 2003 and 145,300 in
    1988.Kodak said it expects to digital earnings from operations will
    reach $200 million to $300 million in 2007 on digital revenue growth of
    3 percent to 5 percent.”By the end of the third quarter, basically my
    hope is that we’re done with all the announcements of restructurings
    and jobs and everything else and we’re just fully concentrated on
    growing” more than a dozen digital ventures from cameras and online
    photo services to high-volume printing presses, Perez said.While Kodak
    remains the world’s top maker of photographic film, Perez doesn’t
    discount someday discarding the storied business that George Eastman
    launched in 1881.”Film is going to follow its own destiny,” he said.
    “Right now, entertainment (motion-picture) imaging is very stable, is
    very good for the company. … If that goes digital, which eventually I
    believe it will, then we’ll do something else. We will do what’s better
    for the shareholders.”Kodak shares fell 70 cents to $25.99 in afternoon
    trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.