Kodak Edges Ever Closer To The Black

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Kodak Edges Ever Closer To The Black

 news 2015-05-12 at 10:43:59 am Views: 204
  • #42519

    Kodak Edges Ever Closer To The Black
    Closer, but no cigar.

    By Matthew Daneman

    That was the profitability picture for Eastman Kodak Co. for the first quarter of 2015, as the Rochester-based printing technology company put out its latest financial results Thursday.

    The numbers painted a familiar picture for Kodak — sales down, thanks in large part to the ongoing shrinking of its meat-and-potatoes film business; and the company still in the red, though that number arguably is shrinking.

    "Our transition to sustained growth and profitability will become more evident in the second half of the year as we continue to drive revenue growth in key strategic products and leverage our improved operating performance," CEO Jeff Clarke said in a statement.

    First, the good news.

    Some Kodak products are seemingly going like hotcakes. For a fourth straight quarter, Kodak turned out more printing plates, particularly its Sonora line. According to Kodak, the number of customers worldwide using Sonar is nearly 2,300, up 12 percent from just three months ago. The company installed five of its Prosper digital inkjet printing presses during the quarter and reached deals to install another five.

    The company is running more cheaply, as expenses were down $35 million from the same quarter one year ago.

    By some metrics, Kodak is getting closer to the black. Its net loss from continuing operations — not counting income taxes — was $50 million for the quarter, compared with $60 million the same quarter a year earlier.

    Then the not-so-good news.

    Sales for the quarter were off 13 percent from the same quarter a year ago, thanks to less-favorable international currency exchange rates and dropping sales of film and of inks for its discontinued desktop inkjet printer line. The company's Consumer and Film Division sales were off 16 percent from a year ago due largely to less demand for its motion picture film and those inkjet inks.

    A printing price war is hurting Kodak. Revenues in its Print Systems Division were down 12 percent due to such issues as aluminum costs and what it called "competitive industry pricing."

    The company expects to meet its 2015 financial goals of sales of $1.8 billion to $2 billion and operational EBITDA — one measure of profitability that doesn't count certain expenses like taxes or depreciation — of $100 million to $120 million.

    Kodak also said it expects to flip the switch by year's end on a touchscreen sensor manufacturing operation in Xiamen, China, based on technology developed by Rochester's Kingsbury Corp. At the same time, Kodak is separately working on a separate touchscreen sensor operation, using different technology, picked up from an ill-fated partnership with Texas-based UniPixel Inc. UniPixel announced earlier this year it was backing out of the Kodak team-up and banking on another touchscreen sensor technology altogether.