Stronger and leaner Kodak now focuses on commercial imaging

After a major restructuring process, Kodak has emerged as a technology company serving imaging for business markets – including packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services. Here’s more on the transition.

Evandro Matteucci of Eastman Kodak Company with Nikumb Bhalchandra, Kodak India Pvt Ltd (left).Kodak has emerged as a stronger and leaner organisation on September 3, 2013. The company is now focused on the following segments – packaging, commercial print, newspaper, publishing, functional printing and enterprise services, said Evandro Matteucci, general manager, graphics, vice president, marketing, Asia Pacific region, Eastman Kodak Company, who was recently in New Delhi.

“The increasing domestic consumption in Asia equals opportunities for our customers,” he added, “with almost 50 percent of Asian population connected online and via mobile.” It is expected that by 2030, the middle class population in Asia would be 2/3 of the total world’s middle class, with 54 percent of total consumer spending. “Hence, Kodak is well positioned to profit from the digitalisation of print and growth in emerging markets. It is expected that digital print revenue will increase 60 percent by 2015, which would be a $155 billion market, packaging $300 billion market and functional print $50 billion market.”

Evandro further told that Kodak has over 12,000 digital commercial printing devices installed producing worth $100 billion commercial printing while Kodak Prosper systems have printed 40 billion pages since its launch. Besides, there are 300 Flexcel NX systems; 60,000 Prinergy seats, 16,000 CtP devices and 30 percent digital offset plates are imaged by Kodak CtP worldwide.

“Infact Kodak is touching people’s lives every day with unique applications. We focus on new business models, considerably the winning applications. In China, Kodak variable data barcode printing solutions are used to keep a check on counterfeit drugs. In Japan, Prosper 5000 digital presses are used to produce personalised educational books. While, in India, personalised wedding albums are a rage. Another area where Kodak is helping its customers in Australia is Sonora XP process free plates,” told Evandro.

Talking about the newspapers segment, he told that in Asia, the number of titles is substantial and stable. “The ad revenues are declining and newspapers are looking for cost-effective measures and are leveraging their assets. However, in spite of the strong digital media use, newspapers get only 10 percent of advertising revenue from digital advertising. Hence, the focus on print continues,” he added. “Today, newspaper works on the model of one to many, maybe a few years later it will migrate to one-to-few or one-to-one model as well.”

Evandro cited the example of Shenzhen Press Group in China which uses Kodak’s inline personalisation capabilities to boost advertising revenues and deliver higher marketing ROMI for brand owners. They create a link between the offline and online marketing environment. Other options which can be looked into by newspapers include gaming, personalised indents, microzoning, personalised ads and geocoded maps. Besides, last-minute news update can be incorporated without stopping the press.

Back in India, Mumbai based Repro India has installed India’s first Kodak Prosper 1000 press to capture POD publishing market in a big way.

Focus on different product lines...

Talking about the Sonora XP process free plates, Evandro told that they are now commercially available and the next generation Sonora XP plates are better in print contrast, hence are suitable for newspapers as well. Right now, they have controlled sales in China for these plates. On asking about the pricing structure of these plates vis-a-vis non-process free conventional plates, Evandro informed that they come at a premium of 20 percent but since being process free, they remain cheaper in totality.

Kodak has installed around 30 NexPress units in China and five in Philippines. “NexPress is a machine and its downtime is quite low offering speed more than 2,000 impressions per hour. Some customers are even churning out millions of impressions in India, depending on the applications,” added Nikumb Bhalchandra, country manager – India cluster, commercial imaging, Kodak India Pvt Ltd. “We focus on the business model of individual customers and offer them a solution depending on their volumes,” he added.

Coming to the workflow business, Evandro told that in emerging geographies, the labour cost is increasing every year to the tune of 10 percent. Hence, automated solutions are required to reduce costs. Very recently, they have launched Prinergy 6 that can drive both digital and traditional print from single server.

The backdrop...

Earlier in September 2013, Antonio M Perez, Kodak chairman and chief executive officer, announced the company’s emergence from Chapter 11 as a reorganized company, following completion of the final steps in the restructuring process. We have emerged as a technology company serving imaging for business markets – including packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services,” said Perez. “We have been revitalized by our transformation and restructured to become a formidable competitor – leaner, with a strong capital structure, a healthy balance sheet, and the industry’s best technology.”

Kodak completed the final steps in its Chapter 11 restructuring, including the spin-off of its ‘Personalized Imaging’ and ‘Document Imaging’ businesses to Kodak Pension Plan, a longstanding pension plan of Kodak’s UK subsidiary. The company also successfully closed on its agreement for $695 million in terms of exit financing, paid off its DIP lenders and second lien noteholders in full and completed its rights offerings, receiving approximately $406 million of new equity investments from participating unsecured creditors.

Kodak has technology and manufacturing centers in Brazil, Canada, China, England, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Singapore and US. It has four operating regions with products in 150 countries. With more than 25,000 customers and 8,500 global employees, the revenue for 2012 has been $2.7 billion.

Kodak PRINERGY 6 to speed up prepress production

Powerful print production workflow software is essential for print service providers to facing tight margins and looking to diversify their businesses with value-added services. Kodak is addressing these challenges with the launch of its Kodak Prinergy Workflow Version 6, the next generation of the world’s industry-leading workflow software. Now released worldwide, Prinergy Workflow 6 represents a completely new vision for prepress production. It brings a new level of automation, accuracy and efficiency to print creation, while reducing costs in the pre-planning print stage and expanding product integration across Kodak and third-party solutions.

Prinergy 6 is the hub of an automated, integrated prepress workflow, which includes Kodak Preps Imposition Software Version 7, Kodak Colorflow Color Software Version 2, and Kodak Insite Prepress Portal Version 6.6. This next generation of solutions will continue to deliver efficiency improvements and cost reductions throughout the production cycle.

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