Kodak to retain Prosper Inkjet

Kodak to retain Prosper Inkjet
Decision reversal made after an in-depth review of business operations and discussions with prospective buyers

Eastman Kodak company has decided to call off the sale of its Prosper Inkjet Business, due to improvements in the business and a lack of buyers prepared to meet Kodak’s price.

Kodak originally put Prosper up for sale a year ago, this decision was made after an in-depth review of business operations and discussions with prospective buyers. The high volume inkjet web market is crowded, with major developers including Canon, HP, Screen, Ricoh, Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox battling to make headway in what is at present a limited market, along with Kodak.

Potential buyers for Prosper were widely thought to include Flint and Fuji Xerox.

Jeff Clarke, CEO at Kodak says, “This is a pragmatic decision given the improvements in the business and the offers received. Prosper performed well in 2016 with a 40 per cent increase in annuity sales for the full year. We expect our Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division (EISD) to be profitable this year, including our next-generation Ultrastream investment.”

Kodak says it has entered letters of intent with new partners, which will create new applications driving market demand for technology.

[Related: Kodak releases new process-free plates]

Kodak will begin delivering Ultrastream evaluation kits to 17 companies, including Fuji Kikai, Goss China, Matti, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging Machinery (MHI-PPM) and Uteco, to explore the integration of Ultrastream into their future printing solutions.

Clarke says, “Kodak will continue to evaluate and act on opportunities to improve shareholder value through acquisitions, partnerships, and sales of businesses within its portfolio.”

David Bullwinkle, CFO, Kodak says, “The sale process for Prosper which we conducted over the past year was robust. We hired Sagent Advisors, which solicited interest from global organisations. Strong interest in the business and technology existed throughout the process. While we had multiple offers, the range of consideration did not reflect the value of the business today.”

Kodak says it will recast financial results to reclassify Prosper into continuing operations of the company within the Enterprise Inkjet Systems Division. Kodak has been accounting for Prosper in discontinued operations as an asset available for sale and will provide an update of this reclassification on its next quarterly earnings call.

Kodak claims it expects products built on Ultrastream technology to go to market in 2019.

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