Kodak to keep its Prosper Inkjet business and continue to invest in Ultrastream

Jeffrey J. Clarke.
Jeffrey J. Clarke.

Eastman Kodak Company has announced that it will retain its Prosper inkjet business. The decision was made following an in-depth management review of business operations and multiple discussions with prospective buyers. “This is a pragmatic decision given the improvements in the business and the offers received,” said Jeffrey J. Clarke, Kodak Chief Executive Officer. “Prosper performed well in 2016 with a 40% 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 will continue to evaluate and act on opportunities to improve shareholder value through acquisitions, partnerships and sales of businesses within its portfolio,” Clarke added.

The company will continue to invest in its Ultrastream program and has entered into letters of intent with partners that will create new applications that drive market demand for the technology. 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. Kodak expects products built on Ultrastream technology to go to market in 2019.

Built on Kodak’s proven continuous Inkjet Stream Technology, Ultrastream moves production inkjet into the mainstream of commercial printing and packaging. The technology utilizes smaller drop sizes and precise placement accuracy for higher resolution, cleaner lines and additional detailed definition. Ultrastream, said Kodak, will set new standards by broadening the range of printable graphic arts applications and reaching new markets for high-speed, high-resolution inkjet printing. The technology will co-exist in the market along with Kodak Stream Technology to offer different platform options, thereby addressing the needs of each individual application.

Kodak Prosper 6000P Press.
Kodak Prosper 6000P Press.

“The sale process for Prosper which we conducted over the past year was robust,” said David Bullwinkle, Kodak Chief Financial Officer. “We hired Sagent Advisors, which solicited interest from global organizations. 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 will recast financial results to reclassify Prosper into continuing operations of the company within its 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.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.