Kodak to keep Prosper

Kodak will retain its Prosper inkjet business, following its strong 2016 performance, and a lack of satisfactory offers made to the company over the past year.

This follows from $20m in investments and streamlining to its Prosper business in January, in an effort to make it more appealing to purchasers.

The company put its Prosper business up for sale a year ago, but has failed to find a buyer. Fuji Xerox and Flint were thought to be among the interested parties.

The high speed digital colour inkjet market is crowded with vendors, but the systems have not yet broken through to the mainstream commercial print market, which would massively amplify the market size, which is currently limited to transactional, transpromo, books and some direct mail work.

Kodak says the decision to keep Prosper was made following in-depth management review of business operations and multiple discussions with prospective buyers.

The key component of Prosper is Kodak’s Ultrastream program, which the company says is now entering into the stage of signing letters of intent with partners to create new applications and drive market demand for the technology.

The companies include Fuji Kikai, Goss China, Matti, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging Machinery and Uteco.

Jeff Clarke, CEO, 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 expects products built on Ultrastream technology to go to market in 2019.

David Bullwinkle, CFO, Kodak says, “Last year’s sale process for Prosper was robust. We hired Sagent Advisors, which solicited interest from global organisations. While we had multiple offers, the range of consideration did not reflect the value of the business today.”

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