- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — Eastman Kodak Co. is cutting 3,000 more jobs this year as the picture-taking pioneer wraps up its wrenching transformation into a digital-imaging company focused on consumer photography and commercial printing.

By year-end, its work force will slip below 30,000, less than half what it was just three years ago.

On top of 27,000 layoffs already targeted, Kodak yesterday said it is reducing its payroll even further to accommodate the $2.35 billion sale in January of its health-imaging unit and its costly foray this week into a high-margin inkjet printer market dominated by Hewlett Packard.

“The dream was that we would wake up in 2008 with the digital company that we want to have. We’re still right on that track,” Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez said at an annual meeting of Kodak analysts and institutional investors. “We will finish this year. This is done … This is the last year of restructuring.”

The company that put film cameras into nearly every home in America acknowledged in 2003 that its analog businesses were in irreversible decline. It outlined a strategy to invest in new digital markets governed by entrenched heavyweights such as HP, Seiko Epson Corp. and Canon Inc.

As it battled to outrun sliding demand for film, its century-old cash cow, Kodak embarked on a nearly $3 billion shopping spree but also ran up $2 billion in net losses over eight straight quarters. It finally snared a $16 million profit in the October-December period when, for the first time, it earned more from digital than from film, paper and other chemical-based products.

Kodak introduced a trio of home printers Tuesday that produce documents and photos using ink cartridges that cost roughly half as much as the competition’s. Analysts think the move could trigger a price war.

Kodak’s latest job cuts will bring extra restructuring charges of $400 million to $600 million, or total charges of $3.6 billion to $3.8 billion since 2004.

It is now eliminating 28,000 to 30,000 jobs by year’s end, with 23,300 already axed. And the sale of its 111-year-old health unit, partly intended to help fund its $300 million-plus investment in inkjet printing, will strip another 8,100 jobs.

That will shrink its payroll to around 29,000, its lowest level since the 1930s. It employed 64,000 people at the end of 2003 and 145,300 in 1988.

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