Lexmark Ditches Inkjets, Lays Off 1,700 Worldwide To Cut Costs


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I remember my family's first Inkjet printer. It was a Lexmark and I was proud to own a piece of hardware designed in Kentucky. The era of inkjet printers from Lexmark ends today, however, as the company is selling off that part of the business.

Lexmark announced today that they will no longer be involved with "the development and manufacturing" of inkjet hardware. Getting rid of their inkjet business will save Lexmark $95 million a year. As part of the restructuring, the company also announced 1,700 layoffs worldwide with 550 affecting their headquarters in Lexington, KY.

"Today's announcement represents difficult decisions, which are necessary to drive improved profitability and significant savings," said Paul Rooke, Lexmark chairman and chief executive officer. "Our investments are focused on higher value imaging and software solutions, and we believe the synergies between imaging and the emerging software elements of our business will continue to drive growth across the organization. As we move forward, we remain confident in our strategy, competitiveness and ability to create value for shareholders."

Lexmark anticipates to offload their entire inkjet business by the end of 2013. The company is also hoping to close its Philippines-based manufacturing facility by the end of 2015. They're also working to sell off all of their inkjet related technology and patents.

Speaking to Business Lexington, Rooke said that Lexmark was evolving "from a hardware-centric company to a solutions company." By that, he means that the company will now focus primarily on software, specifically in the field of "higher value imagining and software solutions."

Lexmark expects the restructuring to cost them $160 million over the next three years. The company also plans to return more than 50 percent of free cash flow to its investors. To accomplish this, they will be purchasing $100 million worth of stock in the third and fourth quarters of this year.

The news of Lexmark ditching the inkjet business caused their share price to skyrocket by three points today. The company is currently trading at $22 per share.