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The Business Page

Welcome to the business page, a blog where I'll take you behind the scenes of greater Rochester's fast-changing economy. My name is Ben Rand, and I intend to introduce you to some of the personalities, concepts and events that make news in business here. I've been a business reporter for eight years in Rochester and a journalist for 18, working in four states. I grew up in Pittsford, but moved away after college for about a decade. My wife and I live in Irondequoit with our two children.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another Look at the Kodak Story

It is fashionable in these days of massive change to hammer Eastman Kodak for "falling behind" in the shift from film to digital imaging. But here's some news to remind the community of the magnitude of Kodak's challenges, which are on a global scale. Earlier this week, the company's historic archrival, Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd. of Japan, reported financial results for the fiscal first half of 2005. Fuji's profit fell 37 percent in the first six months, mostly due to slowing demand for photographic film. According to Reuters, Fuji said it was looking to speed up restructuring programs and also to create a holding company structure. The numbers are in Yen, but here is Fuji's earnings report. In order to compare, here's a link to Fuji's plan for digital imaging.

On the same day that Fuji announced its results, another historic Kodak competitor was unveiling major changes. The assets of Agfa Photo, a film and photo equipment manufacturer based in Germany, are being sold. The most current transaction is to Photo-Me International of England, a company best-known for manufacturing mall-based photo booths.

These changes follow struggles at Ferrania Imaging, a maker of store-brand film, which has been restructuring for the last year to 15 months and was recently sold to Italian industrialists, and Ilford Imaging, a leading maker of black-and-white film products. Ilford has emerged from bankruptcy.


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