Kodak says that it is already in talks with prospective buyers for its enterprise inkjet systems such as Prosper and the recently announced Ultrastream systems but it will retain the older Versamark business. Kodak will still show the Prosper and Ultrastream inkjet systems at drupa since it is likely that the sale will take several months to conclude.
In a call with investors, Kodak Ceo Jeff Clarke said that in order to be profitable both Prosper and Ultrastream still require considerable scaling and investment resources. Apparently potential buyers of the business will have these extensive global go-to-market resources in addition to the resources needed to sell the Prosper presses at below cost with expectations that the annuity income from consumables will ultimately make the ecosystem profitable.
Clarke said, “Prosper presses sell for US$2 million to US$ 3million each. Due to the competitive pressures in the inkjet market, Prosper presses are often placed in loss on the basis that the annuity will yield a system profit over time. Prospective acquirers of Prosper are better positioned to make this magnitude of investment.”
Kodak has been slow in bringing Prosper to market since it was announced at drupa 2004 with incremental revelations at drupa 2008 and finally showing the press in drupa 2012. It had forecast 25 Prosper sales in 2015 and did sell 22 systems but only 16 of these were installed in the year with the rest carried over to the current year.
Unlike its competitors in the high speed inkjet systems’ business which use thermal or Piezo technology, Kodak uses continuous inkjet technology. So far the two potential suitors for the company’s Prosper business that have been cited in the financial and trade press are Flint and Canon.
Meanwhile the drum and toner based Kodak NexPress sales showed improvement in the past year with 78 installations, an improvement of 16%. Kodak’s prepress equipment and software division showed good results with increased software sales and Sonora plate volumes rising significantly. Kodak’s Flexel NX sales went up 12% achieving a current global footprint of 470 Flexcel NX installations globally.
Packaging South Asia is the cooperating media partner for drupa 2016 which is scheduled to be held from 31 May to 10 June at Dusseldorf, Germany.