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 user 2008-12-29 at 9:54:21 am Views: 41
  • #20925
    Kodak faces break-up after fall in digital product sales
    Street is forecasting that Kodak, one of the most famous names in
    photography, will be forced to break up as the industrial icon fails to
    cope with the collapse in demand for its digital cameras and printers.

    gave warning on Wednesday that revenues and profits for 2008 would fall
    well below Wall Street expectations as American consumers stopped
    spending on all but essentials, such as food and petrol. It also said
    that it had been forced to suspend some of its executive retirement
    contributions and that all boardroom pay would be frozen.

    in the American group, which are traded in New York, sank by 12 per
    cent as traders considered the gloomy prospects for the company, which
    had already reduced its revenue and profit forecasts in October. The
    shares, which traded at $30 at the beginning of the year, were
    yesterday valued at $6.40 each.

    Shannon Cross, an analyst at
    Cross Research, told clients: “We think Kodak will need to make some
    hard decisions regarding its consumer inkjet business, Stream and
    Nexpress, as investment required to support these initiatives may be
    too high given deteriorating end markets.”

    However, Antonio
    Perez, Kodak’s chief executive, sought to reassure shareholders and
    argued: “We have a solid cash position, a modest debt balance and,
    despite current lower overall demand, we continue to maintain our
    market share in key businesses.”

    Yesterday’s warning, the second
    in less than three months, provides new evidence that corporate America
    has been surprised by the speed with which the US economy is
    deteriorating. In November, Intel wiped $1 billion off its profit
    forecast for the third quarter of the year as demand dried up for the
    microchips that it makes, which are used in mobile phones and
    computers. Circuit City, the second-biggest electronics chain in
    America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.

    is in a uniquely vulnerable position. The company relies significantly
    on the American consumer for sales of digital cameras, demand for which
    has plummeted. Consumers are buying fewer electronics, as well as
    scaling back on holidays and events that typically encourage

    At the same time, Kodak has been hit this year by
    high energy costs, with many of its photographic and printing raw
    materials intertwined with the price of oil.

    The company also
    provides commercial printing services but that business has been
    affected by the fact that many of its corporate customers have been
    unable to secure financing for new equipment purchases. Kodak said
    yesterday that the strengthening dollar has also had an impact on
    export sales.

    Wall Street is concerned that in the event that
    the recession deepens, Kodak will struggle to strip out new costs
    having only just emerged from a brutal three-year restructuring
    programme, completed at the end of 2007. The programme was designed to
    shift the company away from film production to the digital age.