The wider Kodak company also embraces health and consumer segments, but chairman and CEO Dan Carp made it clear that the newly renamed graphic communications segment took a back seat to neither.
The company has a US$3bn budget to spend on acquistions. Around $1.3bn of this has been spent already, around $800m of which has been in the graphic communications field. Carp says that it has always been the company’s intention to spend the majority of the budget on the health and graphics areas.
The recently appointed president of the graphic communications group, Jim Langley was quick to stress however that Kodak’s focus now is executing on its acquisitions, rather than continuing on the expansion trail. He wouldn’t rule out further dips into the market, however. In the last two or so years, Kodak has snapped up Encad, Scitex Digital Printing (now Kodak Versamark) and Heidelberg’s share of the joint venture NexPress.
Those three wholly owned subsidiaries, together with Kodak’s interest in Kodak Polychrome Graphics, the 50/50 joint venture with Sun Chemical, form the graphic communications group.
Langley moved to dispel industry doubts about Kodak‚s commitment to the graphic arts world, saying that there was often scepticism when the company first moved into the field, but that questions about commitment had all but disappeared now.
Langley was particularly insistent about Kodak’s presence in inkjet, represented most strongly through its Encad and Versamark arms: “I believe inkjet will be a very disruptive technology, moving more pages away from the offset area. I’m not diminishing EP or print on demand, but there’s another workhorse out there and it’s inkjet.”
His sentiments were backed up by president and chief operating officer of Kodak Antonio Perez: “In inkjet, we have 1300 patents worldwide. A lot of these are breakthrough patents that we plan to take to market.”
All the company‚s executives pointed out that despite Kodak‚s relatively recent public appearance in graphic communications, it had a long history of presence and R&D in the field of imaging.
Kodak made clear that it plans to work with a number of partners, both in distribution channels, where Ikon, Danka and Canon may potentially be used beyond the role in which they arrived with Kodak, via the Heidelberg Digital acquisition.
Canon, particularly, are a close partner of Kodak. Executives stressed that the two companies are engaged in a deep relationship based around colour management and product portfolio expansion.
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