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Konica film labs

Kodak unit to buy
Konica film labs

Eastman Kodak Co.’s Qualex Inc. subsidiary will buy two of Konica Corp.’s main U.S. film-developing laboratories.
Konica today called the deal part of its own restructuring. The plants to be acquired by Qualex are in Connecticut and Virginia, the Japanese photographic film manufacturer said.
Konica did not reveal the facilities’ selling price.
The purchase is part of a photofinishing-industry consolidation that likely will see Kodak and Fuji Photo Film Ltd. left as the two most significant players in the United States, said analyst Jonathan Rosenzweig of Salomon Bros. Inc.
The North Carolina-based Qualex is the largest U.S. photofinishing company.
Fuji is building a new photographic paper plant in Greenwood, N.C.
Qualex’s acquisition of the Konica facilities comes after Qualex took over at least one major Konica account earlier this year. And once that business was lost, the plants became excess capacity for Konica, Rosenzweig said.
Ultimately, the Qualex move may be more about selling Kodak photographic paper than generating film-development business for Qualex, however.
Paper is a higher-margin business than photofinishing, and by having Qualex buy the two Konica plants, Kodak creates a “captive market” for its photographic paper, Rosenzweig said.
The Qualex move comes on the heels of Kodak’s announcement that it has a deal in the works to buy a controlling interest in CPI Corp.’s Fox Photo Inc. subsidiary for $56 million.
Fox Photo operates some 550 minilabs and photographic retail stores. CPI also runs Sears Roebuck Co. portrait studios. That business is not part of the Fox Photo deal.
Rosenzweig does not see Qualex’s Konica and Kodak’s Fox Photo acquisitions as directly related.
The Qualex move will improve Kodak’s bottom line by boosting its return on money invested in paper-making machinery, he said.
While the Fox Photo purchase also could mean profits for Kodak, the firm is more interested in the minilab chain’s potential as a marketing and advertising tool, Rosenzweig said.
Kodak said it will use Fox Photo to develop a chain of Kodak photography stores similar to the Photo Express outlets it has developed in a number of emerging markets such as Russia and India.
Kodak’s Web site is located at http://www.kodak.com.

Kodak unit to buy
Konica film labs

Eastman Kodak Co.’s Qualex Inc. subsidiary will buy two of Konica Corp.’s main U.S. film-developing laboratories.
Konica today called the deal part of its own restructuring. The plants to be acquired by Qualex are in Connecticut and Virginia, the Japanese photographic film manufacturer said.

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