Kodak Posts $1.03B Loss for Q3

Photography company Eastman Kodak Co.(EK) posted a quarterly loss of $1.03 billion on Wednesday after a $900 million charge related to efforts to transform itself into a digital products and printing services provider.

The world's top maker of photographic film also missed analysts' revenue forecasts as film sales tumbled, and its shares tumbled 9 percent.

The quarterly loss was the third in a row for Kodak, which has spent the past two years cutting manufacturing and jobs and making acquisitions in hopes of beefing up areas such as digital cameras.

"Kodak remains a very complex restructuring story and it is difficult for investors to track the operational performance of the company," said analyst Shannon Cross of Cross Research, who called the results disappointing and reiterated her "sell" rating on Kodak shares.

Kodak said its quarterly loss amounted to $3.58 a share. In the year-earlier quarter, it posted a profit of $458 million, or $1.60 a share.

Several analysts who scrutinized Kodak's earnings statement figured the company earned 20 cents to 23 cents a share before restructuring and other charges, far below the average forecast of 66 cents a share among analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

The non-cash $900 million charge relates to a write-down of the value of deferred tax assets, resulting from current and expected future losses in the United States created by its extensive restructuring.

Third-quarter sales rose 5 percent to $3.55 billion but fell short of analysts' average forecast of $3.66 billion as compiled by Reuters Estimates.

Revenue from Kodak's digital business increased 47 percent, but revenue from traditional products such as photographic film and developing fell 20 percent.

Analysts said the third-quarter performance showed the Rochester, New York-based company was making headway in some areas but losing ground in others.

For example, digital revenue exceeded traditional revenue on a quarterly basis for the first time, but total digital and film earnings from operations fell by more than half, to $108 million.

Kodak said graphic communications sales jumped 158 percent, driven by recent purchases, including Creo Inc. But sales and profit fell at its health group, a key growth unit that provides imaging products to hospitals.

In addition, debt decreased by $158 million from the second quarter, to $3.56 billion. However, debt so far this year has increased $1.24 billion, largely due to acquisitions.

Kodak shares tumbled to $21 on the New York Stock Exchange, down from a Tuesday close at $23.14.

The stock trades at about 12.4 times estimated 2005 earnings, underperforming the 19.6 percent price-to-earnings ratio of the Dow Jones U.S. Leisure Goods Index. Over the past three months, Kodak shares have tumbled 18 percent.