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Up until December 2010, Philip was regional director sales and vice president, Commercial and Consumer Businesses, responsible for developing Kodak's presence in EAMER across all markets for consumer products and commercial printing operations.

PrintWeek: What's your strategy on Middle East market?

Philip Cullimore: Kodak may well be recognised globally as a market leader but it is a hard fought position that requires concerted innovation and reinvention. These are the fundamental building blocks on which Kodak stands and have been crucial in facilitating the group's market focus adjustment from a company that created value using silver halide image capture to today's emphasis on image output.

We expect 40% growth during this year. This growth is expected mainly from four business solutions viz,: 1. expanding commercial inkjet business, 2. workflow business solutions, 3. packaging and flexography products, 4. consumer inkjet business. Our results are on track for this year.

PW: What is the update on Konica Minolta distribution agreement?

PC: The deal is on and is now working in US and some Asian markets. In the EMEA it is in the mode of launching. Kodak had signed an agreement with Konica Minolta for global distribution which allowed the two companies to sell products from their combined production digital printing portfolio. The deal was designed to capitalise on Kodak's expertise in the mid- to high-volume cut-sheet digital printing market and Konica's strength in the high-end light- to mid-production printing market.

PW: How has the current in the Middle East region affected your business?

PC: Some of the capital intensive projects are affected. But most of the printers are making investments. Recently Asiatic Printing Press in UAE chose to invest in a Nexpress SE3000 Digital Production Color Press. Printers are claiming increased ROI in two years and double-digit growth in digital print among benefits of Kodak investment. With the ability to print up to 350gsm printers can produce a wider range of print as well as print on demand. Also, being able to produce runs of one or 50 allows our clients to better target their message.

PW: How important is this region for Kodak?

PC: We have seen the growth from this emerging market. Infact we have seen increase in plate consumption over first half of the year. When faced with increased competition from companies such as HP, Xerox, Canon and Fuji, Kodak used revenues from film sales to fund its transition. This has paid off and from a standing start Kodak is now among the top three manufacturers.

PW: Will Kodak be increasing investment in this region and if yes in what format?

PC: We have strategic office in Dubai which caters to this region. We are investing in this region with new employments in Dubai. We have increased our resources to stay closure to customers. We have invested in specialists for digital printing, offset printing, unified solutions and packaging business. They will be operating out of Dubai office and focusing on entire MEA region. This is development of last 3 to 4 months and we have started seeing the positive results.

PW: What are the new technical developments from Kodak?

PC: Kodak has detailed a series of enhancements to its Versamark VL-series of drop-on-demand inkjet printers aiming to improve both quality and reliability. Existing customers can undergo a field upgrade that offers three improvements to the system, including increased piezo printhead life, while Kodak will also offer advanced operator training to improve uptime and component lifetime. Kodak has also implemented a global price increase of up to 7% on all flexographic plates mainly because of rising energy and raw material costs. The licensing of our vast patent database generate $350 million a year through fees and most goes onto the bottom line. Our R&D teams have also been working on new technologies while the company has begun to move emphasis from consumer orientated, with a sideline in graphic arts films and plates, to a company that has become a business-to-business operation focusing on printers.

PW: What are the new developments in Prosper machines?

PC: The first three press installations in Europe are in place at French bookmaker Sagim, Spanish transactional printer Servinform and UK marketing services provider Howard Hunt. A further two UK installations are expected to take place before the end of the year. Mono heads have also replaced older Versamark systems at a number of sites in Europe.

PW: What we can expect from Kodak in Drupa?

PC: Its too early to talk about but people will see evolution of couple of machines with focus on books, direct mail and variable data printing. Also we will have direct engraving technology in finished form which we showed in Ipex.