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 user 2004-03-20 at 12:28:00 pm Views: 57
  • #6653

    In the current Market, analysts think HP and Lexmark may be the best investments. Canon (
    CAJ ) and Seiko Epson also have vibrant consumer printer businesses, but HP and Lexmark are the leaders in fast-growing sales of inkjet MFDs, with 58% and 21% of the U.S. market, respectively. HP also dominates the sales of inkjet photo printers, with two-thirds of the U.S. market, while Lexmark is No. 3, behind Epson.

    With printer demand driving growth, Lexmark on Jan. 26 reported record revenue of $4.76 billion for 2003, up 9% vs. 2002. Its profits increased 20%, to $439 million. Analysts expect HP, which will report its first-quarter 2004 results on Feb. 19, to show increasing printer sales as well.

    In the long term, the biggest challenge for printer makers may be improvements in cartridge refills, making their replacement unnecessary. Furthermore, in the U.S. and Europe, a legal battle has been ongoing against Lexmark, which has suffered some setbacks, that could make it easier for third-party vendors to sell cartridges for Lexmark’s and other vendors’ printers. And that could open the door further to discount cartridge and ink makers, eating deeply into printer manufacturers’ profits.