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 user 2008-02-07 at 5:10:00 pm Views: 102
  • #19360

    Kodak sees sales in critical inkjet printer unit tripling in ’08

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. Eastman Kodak Co. said Thursday it expects to exert
    growing pressure on juggernaut Hewlett-Packard Co. in the home
    inkjet-printer market, possibly tripling sales this year of a fledgling
    line of printers that produce high-quality photos using inexpensive ink

    After completing a four-year, $3.4 billion overhaul,
    Kodak predicted at its annual investor meeting that sales will grow
    five per cent on average each year through 2011, driven by a strong 10
    per cent to 12 per cent rise in digital revenue.

    Its forecast of
    $10.3 billion to $10.5 billion in 2008 sales is at the higher end of a
    Wall Street range of $9.9 billion to $10.3 billion among analysts
    polled by Thompson Financial.

    Kodak’s stock, which skidded to a
    30-year low of $16.66 two weeks ago, rose 76 cents, or 4.1 per cent, to
    $19.42 in afternoon trading.

    Its digital businesses – from
    cameras, retail kiosks and printers to intellectual property licensing
    deals – will account for about 70 per cent of overall sales and 60 per
    cent of profits in 2008. Profits from continuing operations will range
    between $250 million and $275 million, it said.

    “This is a very
    different company than the company we had four years ago,” Chief
    Executive Antonio Perez told analysts and institutional investors in
    New York in outlining a new strategy to remodel the world’s biggest
    film manufacturer into a leader in digital photography and commercial

    “Everything we promised that we were going to deliver
    financially we did, from our point of view,” he said. “So maybe, just
    maybe, we should have some credibility for the next four, if I may ask.”

    of the key components Perez is banking on to replace the huge profits
    Kodak once made from film is a line of inkjet printers introduced last
    March that he hopes will generate double-digit operating margins within
    three years.

    Kodak sold 520,000 inkjet printers last year -
    exceeding a half-million-unit target. It expects to sell two-to-three
    times as many in 2008 and said it remains on course to hit a break-even
    goal of $1 billion in sales by 2010.

    Hewlett-Packard commands
    close to half of all global sales in the $50 billion printer market,
    and market research group InfoTrends expects the colour home-printer
    sector to grow to $16.2 billion in 2010.

    “We’re just new in the
    inkjet business and they’re always comparing us with HP. We feel very
    honoured, ” said Perez, who expects Kodak to eventually grab a No. two
    slot in revenues.

    Kodak said its replacement ink cartridges,
    priced at $10 for black ink and $15 for colour, still cost roughly half
    as much as the competition’s. The multipurpose printers were originally
    priced at about $50 more than comparable machines on the market.

    than lowering ink prices, competitors have cut the price of printers
    over the last year, Perez elaborated in an interview with The
    Associated Press.

    “We’ve sold the printers at more than 30 per
    cent than the average of the industry,” he said. “We didn’t want to be
    that much higher. Obviously our competitors have been discounting
    heavily to make it difficult for us to be successful.”

    long-awaited entry into the rough-and-tumble inkjet market – it also
    expects to shake up the commercial printing arena this year – is a
    do-or-die strategy, some analysts say.

    “I think it’s critical, said Chris Chute of IDC, a market research firm near Boston. “The happy days of film are gone.”