Reborn Kodak to focus on Thailand

Bankruptcy leads to digital imaging switch

After emerging from bankruptcy protection last week, Eastman Kodak Co says Thailand will remain one of its priority markets in Asia-Pacific to support a new focus on commercial imaging products for business-to-business customers.

Evandro Matteucci, Eastman Kodak Co’s vice-president for marketing in Asia-Pacific, outlines the company’s business direction for Thailand at a briefing in Bangkok yesterday. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

The photography company, which invented the digital camera, will be reborn as a small digital imaging company and focus on commercial products such as high-speed digital printing and printing on flexible packaging for consumer goods.

Evandro Matteucci, the vice-president for marketing in Asia-Pacific, said Kodak's new operation will provide imaging for packaging, commercial print, newspapers, publishing, functional printing and enterprise services.

Kodak will focus more on Asia-Pacific, especially Japan, China, India, South Korea, Southeast Asia and Australia.

Asia has increasing domestic consumption, while most of its population is online every day, particularly via smartphones.

"By 2030, Asia's middle class will be the largest in the world, comprising two-thirds of the global middle class," Mr Matteucci said.

Asia provides 27% of Kodak's global revenue, and that figure is expected to increase to one-third over the next 3-5 years.

Mr Matteucci said Kodak is well positioned to profit from the digitalisation of print and the growth in emerging markets.

By 2015, the Asian packaging business is forecast to be worth US$300 billion, while the functional print market is expected to reach $50 billion.

"Thailand is the centre of Kodak in Southeast Asia, in terms of not only service but also operation. Thailand is an interesting market because it has the highest growth in packaging and printing customers. Moreover, the Kodak brand is very iconic and well known," Mr Matteucci said.

With its added value and widened printing solutions, Kodak will help customers to create new business models and expand into new markets to grow their bottom line.

With this new direction, Mr Matteucci expects Kodak's net profit before tax in Asia to be more than $160 million this year. Revenue is also expected to grow from $2.7 billion last year.

Kodak recently completed the final step in its Chapter 11 restructuring including the spin-off of its personalised imaging and document imaging businesses to the Kodak Pension Plan, a long-standing pension plan of Kodak's British subsidiary.

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