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Kodak in talks to sell its Prosper enterprise inkjet business

17 March 2016

Even as Kodak has reduced its losses on worldwide sales that fell 15% in 2015 to slip below the USD2bn mark, the group said, it is in talks with prospective buyers about offers to purchase its Kodak Prosper enterprise inkjet business, along with the Prosper press platform, the Prosper S Series imprinting systems and related products.

2016031706102200220http172 Clarke: "The Prosper business has significant potential for accelerated growth

It said it was already in talks with potential buyers about its Prosper inkjet business, which includes imprinting heads and the Prosper high speed inkjet web presses.

The legacy Versamark inkjet business is not included in the deal, and will remain with Kodak.

Kodak has cut its 2016 revenue guidance, saying it now expects USD 1.5 billion to USD 1.7 billion, compared with its earlier view of USD 1.8 billion to USD 2 billion. It reported USD 1.8 billion in 2015.

It affirmed its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation projection of USD 130 million to USD 150 million.

Sagent Advisors, an independent investment bank, and DC Advisory, a European corporate finance adviser, which share Daiwa Securities, a Japanese investment bank, as a common shareholder with one of the biggest Japanese digital print manufacturer, have been engaged by Kodak to manage the sale process.

In an official press release, Jeff Clarke, the Kodak chief executive officer said, "The Prosper business has significant potential for accelerated growth. To achieve its full economic potential, Prosper will be best leveraged by a company with a larger sales and distribution footprint in digital printing markets."

The announcement has raised eyebrows in the Indian print industry; more so, as Clarke had previously described Prosper as one of Kodak’s “four growth engines”, alongside Sonora, Flexcel and Micro 3D printing.

Kodak also announced that it will cease development of its nascent silver mesh functional 3D printing business in order to focus on copper mesh technologies. It will continue to make silver halide film for touch screen manufacturers.

Philip Cullimore, the president of Kodak’s Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division and the Micro 3D Printing & Packaging Division said, "The market opportunity for Prosper will expand even further with the planned introduction of Kodak Ultrastream, a next-generation inkjet writing system with significantly enhanced performance. This will move production inkjet into the mainstream of commercial printing and packaging."

The Ultrastream continuous inkjet head was announced during the pre-Drupa conference as a fourth-generation product. It is aiming to sign up OEM partners at Drupa who could use the head in sheetfed inkjet presses or in a wide-format array. It is slower than Kodak’s Stream high-speed inkjet heads, but produces better quality and can print 153m/min at 1,800dpi resolution. Kodak will showcase the technology at Drupa.

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