17 May 2020 Business

Kodak drops ahead of pandemic pain

The full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will be felt in coming quarters, but there was enough in the first three months of the year to depress the company's sales.

Kodak’s revenues for the first three months of 2020 were down over the same period last year, but this is before any measurable impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company reported sales of $264 million ($297 million) with decline in traditional printing to $154 million ($166 million), digital printing to $65 million ($72 million) and advanced materials to $42 million ($48 million). Within this, volumes of the Sonora process free plate increased 18%.

And executive chairman Jim Continenza believes that thanks to action taken last year to stem outgoing cash flows, the company is in a strong position to come through the current crisis. “Kodak started the quarter on a positive trajectory and the actions we took last year to strengthen our balance sheet are helping us manage through the slowdown.

Kodak employees have risen to the challenge of the pandemic, continuing to serve our customers and redirecting resources to produce isopropyl alcohol for hand sanitiser and manufacture face masks using our film base materials. Looking forward, we will continue with our plans to double down on digital print, launch exciting new products and realign our business to focus on customers.”

The new products, including new versions of Sonora process free plates, Prinergy and digital print products, would have been launched next month at Drupa. The company announced these in the same time frame, though without the fanfare opportunity that an exhibition provides.

The company is taking advantage of government assistance where it can, while striving to keep operations around the world open as much as possible. There has been assistance from UK and German governments, for example, but little from the US government because Kodak falls outside the category of businesses eligible for state aid. It has increased plans to save money, reducing costs by $60 million, more than the $40 million annual saving it had planned for.

The company ended its first quarter with an $8 million operating loss and a net loss of $111 million thanks to expenses of $167 million through an increase in deferred tax liabilities on operations outside the US, balanced by a $53 million income related to an alteration in fair value rating of some embedded derivatives.

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Jim Continenza

Jim Continenza

Kodak is implementing further saving measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic though the measures taken last year will help Kodak through the crisis, says executive chairman Jim Continenza.

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