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News and Notes

Kodak to Slash Up to 1,700 Jobs Despite Surge in Earnings

Eastman Kodak will slash its payroll by up to 1,700 jobs despite a positive earnings report that showed the photo giant posted $334 million in profits for the third quarter. According to Kodak, approximately 1,000 of the possible 1,300 to 1,700 job cuts will come before the end of the year.

"These actions are required in a world that is increasingly competitive and economically uncertain," said Dan Carp, Kodak's chairman and chief executive officer. "In line with our drive to continually evaluate every part of our business for profitability, we will consider additional, focused actions that further Kodak's long-term growth objectives and make sense for our customers and markets. Of course, we will do all we can to help affected employees through outplacement assistance and other means."

The expected reductions follow 7,000 layoffs from last year, which brought Kodak's total work force to 75,000 employees. The latest round of cuts is expected to save the company about $200 million a year.

The announcement of the planned layoffs coincided with the release of Kodak's third quarter earnings report, which showed the company posted higher profits than expected. Kodak's third quarter net income of $334 million, or $1.15 a share, improves on the $96 million in profits, or 33 cents a share, from a year ago. Analysts apparently underestimated Kodak's profits for the third quarter, predicting the company would post earnings of just 73 cents a share.

Some of the factors that pushed Kodak to better profits were a slightly higher share of the U.S. consumer film market, as well as strong sales of motion-picture film and consumer digital cameras. Health and commercial imaging sales were also up in the third quarter.

"Kodak's mission is to continue generating cash, creating innovative products and services, and boosting manufacturing productivity so that the company's earnings are positioned to accelerate upon an economic recovery," Carp said. Dan Havlik

Achiever Industries News

Achiever Industries introduced at photokina its updated DCS ready-to-use camera line, which incorporates a unique double cartridge pre-loaded film system. "We are proud of the updated DCS line, and the flexibility it presents to the consumer," said Jimmy Chan, chairman and founder of the company. DCS's double cartridge system offers significant advantages over ordinary single-use cameras."

Achiever's DCS camera design has been officially cleared of infringing on Fuji patents by the International Trade Commission (ITC). The DCS cameras use a unique Double Cartridge System, in which the film is transferred from a secondary cassette into the standard 35mm cassette as the film is shot.

"This is significant news for our company and for the public, since the DCS camera has additional functionality which enables the consumer to reuse it more than once and yet have the same ease of use as found in other 'single-use' cameras," said Chan. "We also needed to set the record straight and clear up any confusion caused by Fuji's press releases, which may have given the mistaken impression that the importation of Achiever DCS cameras had been banned by the ITC," Chan noted.

Write-Once Card Maker DataPlay Goes Chapter 11

The field of "write-once" memory card makers got a little smaller last month as Colorado-based DataPlay announced it had filed for Chapter 11-bankruptcy protection.

Though it raised $120 million in four years of existence to develop its half-dollar sized 500-megabyte disks and tiny drivers, DataPlay was unable to garner the $50 million more it needed to stave off Chapter 11.

"We're still talking with potential buyers," DataPlay founder Steven Volk told the Associated Press. "It was inevitable that we needed to file Chapter 11 just to protect the assets of the company."

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