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 user 2008-12-12 at 11:14:12 am Views: 52
  • #20848
    Kodak Falls to Lowest in 34 Years After Forecast Cut
    Dec 08 — Eastman Kodak Co. fell to its lowest price in at least 34 years on the New York Stock Exchange after cutting its 2008 sales and profit projections for the second time in six weeks.The Rochester, New York-based company said it plans to intensify its focus on cash generation and reduce costs. Executives won’t receive a salary increase next year, where permissible by law, and Kodak will suspend its 2009 match for 401(k) retirement savings plans in the U.S., according to a statement today.A deepening global recession and changes in the value of the U.S. dollar have threatened sales at the 128-year-old photography company as it tries to reshape itself for the digital age. The cuts kindled doubt about the success of Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez’s four-year restructuring, concluded in December 2007, that eliminated 28,000 jobs and invested more in digital products as demand waned for traditional film.

    Kodak dropped 61 cents, or 8.5 percent, to $6.59 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, its lowest closing value since at least January 1974, as far back as Bloomberg data go. The shares are down 70 percent this year.“I fully believe further restructuring will be needed,” said Shannon Cross, an analyst at Cross Research in Livingston, New Jersey. “Their biggest challenge is cash flow. They’ve pulled their cash guidance for this quarter and are facing competitors with a stronger cash position and better access to liquidity. To help offset this, they’re going to need to trim spending somewhere.”Cross recommends selling the stock and predicts the company will announce additional cost reductions in January or February. She estimates Kodak has about $1.8 billion in cash with $1.3 billion in debt.

    ‘Dramatic Slowdown’
    “The company has seen the dramatic slowdown in consumer spending continue and worsen” in recent weeks, while commercial customers were finding it “increasingly difficult to secure financing” for new equipment purchases, Kodak said. The company withdrew its second-half and full-year sales and profit predictions, and didn’t provide new figures.“There is an unprecedented amount of uncertainty surrounding the economic environment and most signs indicate that we may be facing a prolonged global recession,” Perez said in the statement.Changes in the dollar’s value have also hurt earnings and sales, the company said. In 2007, Kodak derived more than half its revenue from outside the U.S. Since Sept. 22, the dollar has advanced 13 percent against the euro, making U.S. exports more expensive for overseas buyers.Kodak is suffering from slowing demand for digital cameras and printers and order cancellations in its printing business. Mounting unemployment, a lack of credit and falling property and stock values have helped push the U.S. economy into a recession. This may be the worst holiday shopping season in six years, according to the National Retail Federation.

    Fourth Quarter
    Kodak’s fourth quarter typically produces more sales than any other. The company forecast its third straight annual sales decline Oct. 30, and said it would eliminate more jobs. At the time, Kodak sliced its operating profit forecast in half, to a range of $200 million to $250 million, and said 2008 sales would drop by as much as 5 percent, after previously predicting a gain of as much as 2 percent.“They’re covering their backsides, making sure that people are not surprised at how bad the quarter’s going to be,” said Rusty Robinson, a Kodak shareholder and president of Brentwood, Tennessee-based Robinson Investment Group, which oversees about $102 million.