- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2004

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Eastman Kodak Co., which turned picture-taking into a hobby for the masses a century ago, is cutting 12,000 to 15,000 more jobs — or close to a quarter of its work force — as it struggles to make the wrenching transition from film to digital photography.

The job cuts, announced yesterday, will be made in Kodak’s traditional film photography businesses and will take place over the next three years, bringing the company’s total employment down to World War II-era levels of about 50,000.

Kodak became a symbol of American ingenuity and one of the world’s most recognizable brand names during the 20th century. But its film business has been on the wane for more than a decade, its decline quickened in the 21st century by filmless digital cameras, which record pictures on computer chips.

Kodak was slow to get into digital photography, and now, without a swift conversion, risks fading into history, analysts warn.

“We’ve got good momentum, particularly in our digital portfolio,” which turned a profit for the first time in 2003, Chief Executive Dan Carp said yesterday. “We can see now into the future and have scoped out a three-year plan to ensure we stay ahead. We believe 2003 marks the bottom, and we’ll build on our performance going forward.”

The announcement came as Kodak posted a fourth-quarter profit of $19 million, or 7 cents a share, down sharply from $113 million, or 39 cents, a year ago.

Excluding restructuring and other one-time items, however, earnings were $199 million, or 70 cents a share.

That beat the consensus forecast of 52 cents a share among analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. Sales rose 10 percent to $3.78 billion from $3.44 billion.

Wall Street appeared to welcome Kodak’s sharper focus on digital technology. Kodak shares climbed $3.49, nearly 13 percent, to close at $30.95 on the New York Stock Exchange. In October, the stock was down to nearly $20, an 18-year low.

“It’s needed, but it radically increases the risk profile of the company. You’ve got a company that’s going from oligopoly to a very competitive landscape,” said analyst Shannon Cross of Cross Research-Soleil Securities in Short Hills, N.J.

Kodak’s global work force peaked at 136,500 in 1983. It now employs 35,500 people in the United States, including 20,600 at its fading manufacturing hub in Rochester. It eliminated up to 6,000 jobs in 2003.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide