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Lexmark to dump inkjet printers, cut 1700 jobs

Tags: Lexmark

Printer maker Lexmark International Inc said it will stop making inkjet printers, cutting about 1,700 jobs, and focus on its more profitable imaging and software businesses.

Lexmark has been phasing out inkjet printers, used by consumers, and focusing on selling more sophisticated laser printers. It has also been beefing up its print services through several acquisitions over the last couple of years.

Revenue from the company's legacy inkjet hardware business declined 66 percent in the first half of 2012, forcing the company to cut its full-year forecast.

Most printer makers are struggling with falling sales as printing, considered one of the most dispensable parts of a company's budget, is always the first target of cost cutting.

Rival Xerox Corp. cut its full-year profit outlook in July, while Canon Inc trimmed its operating profit forecast, as the companies braced for tough economic conditions in Europe.

Lexmark laid off 625 employees related to manufacturing of consumer supplies in January.

The company said on Tuesday that it will take a pre-tax charge of $160 million US related to the restructuring, with $110 million incurred in 2012, and the remaining in the next three years.

The company also said it is working with its strategic advisors to explore the sale of its inkjet-related technology, adding that it will close its Cebu, Philippines-based plant by 2015.

The company, which expects annual savings of $95 million once the restructuring is complete, also said it would buy back an additional $100 million shares in the second half of 2012.

Lexmark, which had about 13,300 employees worldwide, as of Dec. 31, 2011, said it will continue to provide service, support and aftermarket supplies for its inkjet installed base.

The Perceptive Software business, which Lexmark bought in 2010, provides software and services used to manage documents, workflows, imaging, and other content.

The company also bought Brainware Inc, ISYS Search Software and Nolij Corp earlier this year and added them to its Perceptive Software unit.

The business accounted for nearly 5 percent of second-quarter revenue, up from about 2 percent in the year-ago period.

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