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 user 2010-01-18 at 10:36:25 am Views: 60
  • #23186

    Kodak eyes 10% growth in region this year,Kodak will continue
    to invest heavily and expand its presence in Dubai because it recognises
    the need for customised solutions in the region. Transactional printing
    has taken off well and the company is set to launch breakthrough
    technologies for packaging this year. All this should help the company
    reach its rather ambitious target of 10 per cent growth in the region
    this year.John O’Grady, Vice-President of Eastman Kodak, Regional
    Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa (Emea) and Chairman
    Eastman Kodak Sari, reveals company’s plans to Emirates Business.

    did you fare in 2009?

    All markets were affected pretty much the
    same. We had some segments that responded better than the others such as
    kiosk photo printing. We saw the number of prints per kiosk grow pretty
    significantly at 10 to 12 per cent through the year. Document imaging
    was very important. Our services business also did well. While we did
    not sell as much new equipment as we had planned, we still had a very
    robust service business. On the down side, a lot of our businesses,
    including our digital plate business, suffered. The volume going through
    the printers was hit dramatically by recession. People cut down
    advertising so the number of magazines was not that high. People were
    far more selective around advertising so that impacted the volumes going
    through the printers. Digital printing plates are probably 30 to 40 per
    cent of our business, so that left a sizeable impact. Our digital
    camera business was also hit. Overall, sales suffered by about 20 per

    What is your outlook for 2010?
    We see a modest?
    growth of five to six per cent in the region. This year Saudi Arabia and
    the UAE are going to be strong. This is a wide open market with great
    opportunities. We are tasking our team here with 10 per cent growth
    because we are committed to investing in the region, to putting more
    people working here. We have already started the hiring process.

    measures did the company take to combat recession?

    We initiated a
    fairly major restructuring campaign. We solidified our short, medium
    and long-term cash positions with primary investments. We have core cash
    businesses. Our digital pre-press business is profitably very strong
    cash-wise. Our digital camera business along with the intellectual
    property, document imaging business, kiosk business and entertainment
    imaging are very strong for us. Those are probably $6 billion
    (Dh22.02bn) to $7bn businesses that are kicking lots of profitability
    and cash.

    How do you intend to achieve a growth of 10 per

    Part of our strategy is to engage with carefully-selected
    partners that are going to give us the geographical reach into these new
    growth areas. Kodak is honest enough to admit that we are going to need
    partners to help us grow. We are cultivating the partners we have and
    where we see the need to develop new partners to challenge these new
    segments of business, we are being proactive in seeking those
    partners.Given the breadth of our portfolio right now we are seeing that
    rather than concentrating on geographical expansion, we see the need to
    expand in segments. Kodak is moving dramatically from being a product-
    based company to a solutions-based company. We will also bring new ways
    of sharing your images onto picture frames to make it that much easier.
    Each frame will have its own e-mail address so you can mail a picture
    directly to it. These are new ways for people to enjoy their images. We
    have more than 100,000 kiosks worldwide for photo printing. The major
    development this year will be improving the user interface to allow
    consumers to avail of the different new ways of printing different types
    of products. You will be able to print not just a calendar but a photo
    book. You will also be able to download your images on the kiosk.

    one expect a reduction in the cost of print?

    What we are really
    targeting is total cost of ownership. We are looking at developing
    applications and solutions that are in essence going to bring new life
    to printing. One of the major initiatives that we are launching in 2010
    and into 2011 is what we call Prosper. This is a high-speed offset
    quality, total variable printing system. It will basically allow you to
    create multiple millions of pages, each one individualised on a constant
    run using variable speel with off set quality. You cannot really put a
    cost on the equipment because it depends on the application and how it
    is configured. But it is a couple of million dollars investment.The cost
    of paper has been under pressure for a while. A lot of the costs have
    been taken down but there is going to be inherent costs in the shipping
    of paper that is going to basically bottom line your ability to take it

    How much is Kodak investing in these new products and

    It is hard to know how much it is going to cost to
    activate. Kodak is a $8bn to $9bn business. In our investment businesses
    such as Prosper, consumer ink jet business and workflow enterprise
    solutions business we are probably investing $800m a year.In Europe,
    Middle East and Africa market, the Middle East is about 15 per cent of
    our business. It is a huge area of opportunity for us. That is why we
    are concentrating more in Dubai.

    PROFILE: John O’Grady
    Vice-President of Eastman Kodak

    O’Grady is also Regional Managing
    Director, Emea and Chairman of Eastman Kodak Sàrl. From May 2007 to
    December 2008, he was Managing Director for Europe, Africa and Middle
    East, Consumer Businesses.Until May 2007, O’Grady was Director, US and
    Canada Sales and Vice-President, Consumer Digital Group. Previously, he
    served as General Manager of the company’s digital imaging business in
    the Americas. He joined Kodak in 1997 following a 12-year career at
    Verbatim.O’Grady graduated from the University of Limerick in Ireland
    with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics in June 1990.