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 user 2005-01-22 at 10:33:00 am Views: 76
  • #11422

    Kodak is paying $50.5 million for Israeli health-imaging company

    ROCHESTER,N.Y.-Photography icon Eastman Kodak CO.,extending its reach in the fast-growing digital realm of medical imaging, said Tuesday it is buying its third Israel-based company in 15 months for $50.5 million.

    The deal to acquire Orex Computed Radiography Ltd., expected to be completed by March, will boost Kodak’s revenues by an estimated $32 million in 2005. Privately owned Orex, founded in 1996 and based in Yokneam, Israel, had $28 million in sales last year and employs 84 people.

    Kodak already makes large, high-cost computed-radiography systems that enable hospitals to acquire X-rays digitally. But Orex has carved out a niche in orthopedics, dentistry and diagnostic imaging centers for compact models that fit on a table and range in price from $40,000 to $60,000.

    The buyout “is in strategic alignment with plans to market our digital medical imaging and information products to customers in specialty medical markets worldwide,” said Dan Kerpelman, president of Kodak’s health-imaging division.

    Kodak has some 1,700 employees at a plant in Windsor, Colo., that manufactures medical X-ray film, motion picture film and color paper. Last June, the company broke ground on a $40 million thermal media and inkjet plant.

    Kodak has forked out more than $500 million for a half-dozen digital medical-imaging companies over the last two years, swelling its revenues in that sector to $2.4 billion in 2003. It bought Algotec Systems Ltd., an Israeli developer of medical-imaging archiving systems, for $42.5 million in November 2003.

    In the same month, Kodak delved deeper into the ink-jet printer market by acquiring the digital printing division of Israel-based Scitex Corp. Ltd. for $250 million.

    In seeking to snap up the best imaging technology in the marketplace, “what we have found is that some of the world’s best science and engineering exists in Israel,” said Kodak spokesman John LaBella.

    Kodak also plans to sell Orex’s systems to aerospace, pipeline and other industrial, nondestructive testing companies.

    Kodak grew into a photography industry icon on the strength of its chemical-based film, paper and photofinishing businesses but is now betting its future on filmless technology – from digital cameras and online photofinishing to minilabs, X-ray systems and commercial printers.

    Last week,Kodak Said it is paying $817 million for Sun Chemical Corp.’s 50 percent stake in a jointly owned commercial graphic arts business.

    Kodak shares fell 16 cents to close at $31.73 in Tuesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares are down from a 52-week high of $34.74 in November.