Rapid changes in technology can be a death bell for established product brands. Not recognizing these changes and adapting to them is the nail in the coffin. There are certain brands, however, that are strong enough to cheat death if a solid reorientation is made quickly and effectively. In this sense, recognizing the brand and its opportunity can be just as an effective investing option as any other, especially when a stock price is beaten down for some time but refuses to die.
Eastman Kodak Co., an imaging technology products manufacturer and service company, manufactures imaging products for the consumer and commercial marketplace. The company recently posted higher than expected returns after a long restructuring and realignment process.
Several years ago it would have been safe to say that Eastman Kodak dropped the ball as digital cameras and cell phones entered the marketplace. Today, however, it would also be safe to say that the company has regained its footing albeit in a slightly differing digital orientation. Thursday’s reported revenue topped estimates as the company appears to have completed a reorientation focused on new digital printing and services technology.
The company does seem to have made the transition and is once again moving forward. On a year over year first quarter basis the company posted a $443 million profit verses an over $900 million loss for the same quarter. Digital business for the quarter was up 12% while the most associated film business was down 10%. One, however, cannot discount the company’s service business where an increasing commercial presence is developing along with commercial inkjet sales. Overall, Eastman Kodak’s long reorientation process looks to be generating results and may be a solid dividend play. Generally, this would be in the future as it really begins to pick up speed and recognition as a leading brand in the market place. One would not suggest that this will happen overnight but it does look to be a solid possibility going forward.