Kodak to become more Asian after Chapter 11 restructure

Lois Lebegue, Kodak managing director of the Asia-Pacific region, has told ProPrint that despite the bleak headlines out of the US and western Europe, “Asia-Pacific is very strong, very healthy and growing”.

He said the parent group’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US should have minimal impact in this region, particularly as the vendor is banking on its Asia-Pacific business to help secure a long-term future.

“When we recover and come out of Chapter 11, the centre of gravity will move more in to Asia-Pacific,” said Lebegue.

“I can’t comment on how long it will take to exit [Chapter 11] – that very much depends on the profile of the company… but for us the move to grow our footprint in Asia-Pacific is happening whatever.

“We are seeing more and more of our manufacturing capacity being moved to Asia-Pacific, more and more of our R&D capacity moved to Asia-Pacific, so our global footprint and go-to market is growing year over year,” added Lebegue.

Kodak Australia and New Zealand managing director Adrian Fleming said that with teams across the Asia-Pacific region sitting in the same time zone as Australia, “we can’t help but benefit from any increased focus in Asia”.

The ANZ market accounts for 15% of Kodak’s $1 billion sales in Asia-Pacific, added Fleming.

Asia-Pacific is expected be protected from any dramatic reshaping taking place in the US and Western Europe, said Lebegue. “We are not going to be chasing a lot of restructuring and cost-cutting in Asia-Pacific except the impact of decisions such as stopping the manufacture of digital cameras.”

Digital cameras account for less than 5% of Kodak’s Asia-Pacific sales, and less than 2% here in Australia and New Zealand.

This means the decision to pull out of cameras won’t drive any restructuring here, said Fleming.

Kodak’s troubles largely stem from the poor performance of its consumer business, and Lebegue pointed out that in Asia-Pacific, there is a much more “healthy” balance of 75% commercial to 25% consumer.

Fleming said the balance is almost as healthy in ANZ but closer to “two-thirds, one-third” in favour of its commercial side, which includes its plates business, Prinergy workflow products and digital production presses.

This is still a far cry from the skew in the US, where until a decade ago, up to 80% of Kodak’s sales came from consumer products, said Lebegue.

He said that some of the other “legacy” issues plaguing Kodak in the States and Europe, such as its pension liabilities, had no bearing in Asia-Pacific.

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One thought on “Kodak to become more Asian after Chapter 11 restructure

  1. Bit of an obvious thing to say…..to move closer to Asian model (whatever that is?), however Mr Louis seems to forget that Kodak have largely been hit by desparate markets in US and Europe, unless those markets recover then Kodak won’t be able to rebound. Also, consumer sales offer greater opportunites (especially in the US and Europe) than commercial it’s just that Kodak got it wrong in this segment (badly wrong). Would be very interested to see how Kodak’s situation effects raw materials and third party machine parts from it’s creditors.

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