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Kodak Logo Kodak Releases Statement on Commitment to Film
By Mike Pasini, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 26, 2003 - 21:38 EDT)

Concerned by "the resulting reports and rumors" following Kodak's investors meeting yesterday, the company today reaffirmed that its "film and paper business will remain the company's largest source of revenue and cash."

The statement was issued by Ketchum, Kodak's public relations firm, after yesterday's meeting in which Kodak announced plans to cut their dividend from $1.80 to 50 cents to invest in its digital business. See the box below for the text of yesterday's press release on that meeting.

Explaining that decision, Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel A. Carp said, "We are acting with the knowledge that demand for traditional products is declining, especially in developed markets. Given this reality, we are moving fast -- as digital markets demand -- to transform our business portfolio, with an emphasis on digital commercial markets. The digital world is full of opportunity for Kodak, and we intend to lead it, as we have led innovation in the imaging industry for more than a century."

The text of the company's statement today, reaffirming is commitment to film, follows:

"Eastman Kodak Company intends to maintain its robust participation and leading position in every segment of the traditional film photography market -- consumer, advanced amateur and professional. The company's recent discussion with investors acknowledged the ongoing decline of the worldwide film market and identified a variety of growth opportunities in the digital arena -- opportunities Kodak is pursuing aggressively. It also made plain that, for some time to come, Kodak's film and paper business will remain the company's largest source of revenue and cash.

"That means Kodak will continue to offer world-class photographic films, chemicals and papers, both to make money to fuel its new business ventures and to satisfy the still-substantial -- if shrinking -- customer demand for them. Explicit in the strategy presented to investors is a strong, ongoing commitment to meet the unique requirements of a diverse family of film photographers - from snapshooters recording family memories, to hobbyists expanding their skills, to working professionals who earn a living from the images they take.

"Far from opting out of the traditional photography segment, Kodak is managing this portion of its business to generate the most value possible for itself and its vast customer base. Over the last two years alone, the company has introduced no fewer than eight new or upgraded films, and a variety of durable, high-quality papers for the consumer and professional markets. R&D spending continues. In the midst of digital's growing popularity, the company recognizes that most pictures today are still captured on film. Kodak fully intends to serve that sizeable market and offer quality photographic films, chemicals and papers for years to come."

Original Source Press Release:

Kodak Unveils Digitally Oriented Strategy to Accelerate Growth

Revenue Targeted to Reach $16 Billion by 2006 and $20 Billion by 2010

NEW YORK CITY, Sept. 25-Eastman Kodak Company will present to investors today a broader strategy for growth that will harness the power of digital technology to expand into a range of commercial businesses, resulting in a more diversified business portfolio with the potential to generate $16 billion in revenue by 2006-and $20 billion by 2010.

At an investors meeting in New York City, Kodak's new leadership team will detail its plans to build on its foundation in consumer, medical and professional film imaging products and services to become a more balanced, diversified company that is a leader in the digital markets it serves. Those plans include leveraging its significant presence, and strong growth, in commercial markets and health imaging; refocusing research and development dollars on bigger, bolder ideas; accelerating investments in commercial markets; and acquiring other companies and technology to broaden Kodak's portfolio of digital products and services. Kodak anticipates spending as much as $3 billion on investments and acquisitions to achieve its 2006 revenue goal, including the transactions already announced this year.

Each of the company's key business areas is now headed by leaders with experience in digital products and services, knowledge of both consumer and commercial printing markets, and a history of creating successful businesses throughout their careers. Since the start of 2002, Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel A. Carp has recruited a team of leaders, including President Antonio Perez, whose digital experience will allow the company to thrive in a time of structural change in the imaging industry.

"We are acting with the knowledge that demand for traditional products is declining, especially in developed markets," Carp said. "Given this reality, we are moving fast-as digital markets demand-to transform our business portfolio, with an emphasis on digital commercial markets. The digital world is full of opportunity for Kodak, and we intend to lead it, as we have led innovation in the imaging industry for more than a century."

At sales of $16 billion by 2006, and in the absence of special charges that cannot be estimated currently, Kodak's earnings per share potentially could exceed $3.00 that year.

Kodak will center its growth efforts on three broad markets: Commercial, Consumer and Health.

The Commercial initiatives include developing commercial imaging services for business customers, such as on-demand digital color printing, led by James Langley, Kodak's new President for Commercial Printing. As with Perez, Langley formerly was an executive at Hewlett-Packard Company.

The Consumer initiatives include accelerating the growth of Kodak's successful EasyShare digital camera business and increasing the printing of pictures at home, from home or at retail. Bernard Masson, formerly an executive at Lexmark International, is leading this effort, supported by, among others, Yusuke Kojima, formerly of Olympus Optical Company, Ltd.

The Health initiatives involve gaining more market share in the digital capture of medical images and building an information services business that takes full advantage of the convergence of images and information technology. Dan Kerpelman, who joined Kodak last year from General Electric Co., will continue to lead this effort.

The path to Kodak's revenue goals features short-, medium- and long-term objectives. In the short term-the next 2 years-the company will reinforce its foundation by cutting costs and by managing the consumer film and paper businesses for cash and manufacturing share. In the medium term-2 to 5 years-Kodak will use the cash generated by the traditional businesses to strengthen the three market segments: Commercial, Consumer and Health. In the long term-after 5 years-Kodak will expand its reach by using its brand and technology to build new businesses in such markets as commercial workflow management, mobile imaging and flat-panel and flexible film displays, among others. Willy Shih, who in the past five years has created a $1 billion business from Kodak's consumer digital assets, is leading the display effort.

"I am committed to ensuring that we execute on our growth strategy," Perez said. "We have the technology, the brand and the cash flow from our traditional business to help take advantage of these opportunities, and we intend to compete aggressively for market share."

Achieving the revenue goals requires that the company maintain financial flexibility while taking advantage of the cash-generation capability of its traditional businesses. To that end, Kodak's management has recommended to the board of directors that the dividend be reduced to a semi-annual payment of $0.25 per share ($0.50 annually) from the current semi-annual payment of $0.90 per share ($1.80 annually). Acting on this recommendation, the board voted yesterday to declare a cash dividend of $0.25 per share, payable Dec. 12, 2003, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Nov. 3, 2003.

"Becoming a growth company demands that we invest money to harness the opportunities afforded by digital markets," said Robert Brust, Kodak's Chief Financial Officer. "As a result, we've reduced our dividend payout to a level that's about in line with the average payout of the companies in the S&P 500. This reallocation of cash will help us achieve our revenue targets while carrying an amount of debt that's appropriate for the goals we intend to pursue."

To complete the transformation to a digital-oriented growth company, Kodak will create new businesses through a mix of internal growth and acquisitions, which will be funded through aggressive cost and balance-sheet management.

"We have a goal of becoming a $20 billion company by 2010, reflecting a healthy mix of businesses that are commercial and consumer, traditional and digital, new and established-and all of them taking advantage of the opportunities available in the $385 billion infoimaging market, Carp said.

"Today, we are experiencing a structural shift in our traditional film and paper business in developed markets," Carp said. "To address this shift, we've begun a transformation that is pragmatic and bold. We are determined to win in these new digital markets, and we are creating a Kodak that is geared for success."

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