This Week in Imaging: Latest Financials from Lexmark, Canon; $29.99 Laser Printer; More

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Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

This week in the New York City metropolitan area will probably best be remembered for all the weather analysts who predicted that we’d be buried under several feet of snow and media saying that we’d barely make it out alive. Alas, they were quite wrong – something to also keep in mind when it comes to analysts in the digital-imaging industry, not all of whom are always “right,” for instance, those who insist that “print is dead.” While it’s true we’ve experienced a reduction of worldwide printing volume, especially in the consumer end, market research indicates that the decline is a gradual one. Example: Canon Inc., which is investing $100 million in expanding its toner-cartridge manufacturing factory in the United States, and which this week reported continuing healthy revenue gains for office and production printing – albeit buoyed by a continued weaker yen – but continued lower demand for digital cameras.

Also keep in mind that the “print is dead” argument has been around for quite some time, even before the widespread adoption of color printing for consumer applications. This means that because color prints are multiple times more profitable than black-and-white prints, revenue from the sale of color ink, toner, and developing units has increased across the board.

The results were a bit mixed for Lexmark’s latest quarter, with the firm reporting a loss, but also seven consecutive quarters of revenue growth. It seems part of that loss can be attributed to costs of acquiring companies to bolster Lexmark’s strength in the enterprise and healthcare content-management and document-processing industry. This appears to be the firm’s long-term strategy, to remain a printer and MFP hardware vendor, while also providing enterprise and healthcare’s much-needed infrastructure for automating document processes, replacing inefficient paper-based processes, and where significant growth will be, with MFPs serving as a bridge to those processes (note that automated document processes are already government-mandated for healthcare).

For Lexmark, that means managed print services (MPS) and revenue from Perceptive Software continues to grow – for fourth-quarter 2014, revenue growth was up 16 percent for Lexmark MPS, and 37 percent for Perceptive Software, both year-over-year. And, altogether, combined revenue from MPS and Perceptive Software now makes up about a third of Lexmark’s total revenue.

We’re usually skeptical about the true cost of bargain-basement printers as their supply costs tend to be obscenely, high courtesy of the old “give ’em the razor then sell ’em the blades” business mold. However, the Chinese-made Pantum monochrome laser printer sold by Newegg for $29.99 has a black toner cost per page of 2.5¢, which is considerably less than that of many desktop laser printers, and somewhat less than that of only a handful of higher-priced inkjet models. That said, we haven’t got our hands on a test unit, so we can’t vouch for its performance, where our main concern would be software quality.

  • Lexmark Reports Loss for Fourth Quarter, but Seventh Consecutive Quarter of Revenue Growth – Read more here.
  • Robust Quarter and Full-Year Financial Results for Canon, Office Imaging Records Healthy Gains Read more here.
  • Newegg Shatters Desktop Laser-Printer Price Barrier with $29.99 Pantum Laser Printer Read more here.
  • First Memjet-Powered JFlex870 Label Printer Sold in Canada – Read more here.
  • Xerox to Mass-Produce Thinfilm Memory Labels at Webster, N.Y., Facility Read more here.
  • HP Announces New Chain of Command for HP Enterprise and HP Inc.- Read more here.
  • KYOCERA Document Solutions Sets up New Sales Company in Chile, Acquires Local Office-Equipment Dealer – Read more here.
  • Epson Office Scanners Certified for Use with eFileCabinet Document-Management Software – Read more here.
  • Epson Officially Announces Print Audit Print-Management Support for Epson WorkForce Pro Models – Read more here.

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