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FID Warning...Kodak cuts jobs, triples CEO pay, Lucky isn't, silver up...etc.
Old 03-30-2006   #1
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FID Warning...Kodak cuts jobs, triples CEO pay, Lucky isn't, silver up...etc.

End of the quarter, time for more insanity. Posting here in the hopes it will be taken for what it is - information, nothing more. Draw your own conclusions.

Kodak to cut jobs in France

Latest layoffs in digital strategy affect 330 X-ray film workers

Ben Rand
Staff writer

(March 30, 2006) — Eastman Kodak Co. will curtail production and cut more jobs at a manufacturing plant in France in connection with the company's ongoing shift from film to digital imaging.

Rochester's second-largest employer is ceasing two processes related to X-ray film at its plant in Chalon-sur-Saone and transferring the work to other locations around the world.

About 330 jobs will be lost, but some might be shifted as the Chalon plant is redeveloped into an industrial park.

Kodak is taking an $85million charge to pay for the changes, half of which is for severance.

As Kodak made the announcement, the French government faced a nationwide outcry over a new labor law. About 1 million people took to the streets Tuesday to protest the law, which allows companies to fire workers younger than 26 without reason in the first two years on the job.

Students and unions say the law will erode France's cherished workplace protections. The government counters that it will encourage hiring of young workers by giving companies more flexibility to manage their payrolls.

Kodak said its action in Chalon is unrelated to the public debate. The company has an ongoing dialogue with labor unions about plans for the Chalon site, spokesman Chris Veronda said. Kodak had announced other cutbacks there over the past two years.

The discussion over the labor law is a national political issue, while the cuts are "a matter of ongoing business strategy" for Kodak, he said.

That strategy calls for eliminating up to 25,000 jobs by the middle of next year to cope with rapidly declining film sales. About three-fourths of the layoffs have already occurred.

At the same time, Kodak is investing heavily to become a major player in digital imaging, in fields such as digital photography, radiology and commercial printing. It is the No. 1 shipper of digital cameras to retailers in the United States, for instance.

"Kodak is now more than halfway through the necessary steps to align production capacity with demand and to consolidate functions around the world, while accelerating its digital imaging strategy," said Daniel T. Meek, director of global manufacturing and logistics.

As it has in Rochester, Kodak is working with local officials in France on economic redevelopment. It hopes that the Chalon site can be converted into an industrial park, and at least two companies have purchased Kodak facilities there for their own use.

Kodak has curtailed production or closed manufacturing sites across the globe, including Australia, England, Canada and Brazil, as well as Kodak Park in Greece.

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But wait, there's more!

Kodak Triples CEO‘s Compensation in 2005
Staff and agencies
30 March, 2006

By BEN DOBBIN, AP Business Writer Mon Mar 27, 5:01 PM ET

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Eastman Kodak Co. tripled Chief Executive Antonio Perez‘s compensation to $10.4 million last year as he took charge of the photography company during its difficult digital transition.

Perez drew a $1.05 million salary, a bonus of $2.36 million and $1.48 million in tax reimbursements and other cash-based benefits, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Securities and Exchange Commission. He also got $1.6 million in restricted stock awards and 435,000 stock options valued at $3.44 million.

A former Hewlett-Packard stalwart, Perez, 60, took the reins last June from Kodak veteran Daniel Carp in a handover that had been on the cards ever since Perez‘s arrival in April 2003. He also succeeded Carp as chairman at the start of this year.

Kodak, however, has climbed to No. 1 in sales of digital cameras and digital X-ray systems in the United States and leads the world in sales of photo kiosks, thermal home printers and online photo services.

In his final year with Kodak, Carp got a $1.1 million salary, a $2.5 million bonus and 200,000 stock options valued at $1.6 million.

It embarked on a nearly $3 billion shopping spree but also began closing film, paper and other raw-materials plants around the world. By 2007, its work force could plummet to World War II levels of under 50,000, down from 75,100 in 2001 and a peak of 145,300 in 1988.

The stock fell 10 cents, to close at $29.09 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange New York Stock Exchange.
And Lucky, one of Kodak's Chinese investments, laid an egg today:

AFX News Limited
China's Lucky Film 2005 net profit down 71.38 pct as consumers go digital
03.29.2006, 10:13 PM
BEIJING (AFX) - Lucky Film Co Ltd (SHA 600135), China's largest photographic film company, said its 2005 net profit was down 71.38 pct year-on-year to 22.33 mln yuan on consumers' preference for digital cameras and falling photographic paper prices.

It said its earnings per share stood at 0.065 yuan last year against 0.228 yuan a year earlier.

In a statement filed with the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the company said high raw material costs and energy prices also hurt its performance for 2005.

The company's 2005 core revenue stood at 612.14 mln yuan, down 1.11 pct year-on-year.

No revenue or profit forecast for 2006 was provided but the company said it will further strengthen its co-operation with Eastman Kodak Co on product upgrades and cost controls.

In October last year, Lucky Film, in which Eastman Kodak has a 13 pct stake, invested 140 mln yuan in a TAC film production line in Baoding in China's northern province of Hebei, which is expected to be completed in March 2007.

TAC film is a major raw material in liquid crystal displays.

( 1 usd = 8.02 yuan )
And silver, used in the making of photographic film, is at a 22 year high:


Silver gains new respect with mining crowd
PDAC convention

Drew Hasselback
Financial Post

Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Silver companies are basking in the glory of a new-found respect, attracting much attention amid the glitter of one of the world's largest mining conventions.

The 74th annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention officially kicked off in Toronto yesterday, attracting a record crowd of at least 12,000 attendees. Investors, visitors and mining executives crammed display booths from more than 700 companies.

All were looking for news of the latest discovery in one of the hottest metals booms in decades.

With the price of silver recently breaking through the psychological barrier of US$10 an ounce for the first time since April, 1987, silver stories were a focus of much interest. Silver closed yesterday at US$10.04 an ounce, up US1.5 cents.

Convention-goers hustled to get the latest information on exploration and production companies searching for silver in Mexico and Peru.

This is quite a change from a couple of years ago. While it is often viewed as a precious metal, silver is mainly used for practical applications, such as the production of photographic film or high-end electronics. In recent years, moribund silver prices meant the metal was viewed by many as neither precious nor practical.

"There were some naysayers who didn't believe silver was going anywhere," said Robert Archer, chief executive of Vancouver-based Great Panther Resources Ltd. He founded the company in 2003, convinced the reduction in silver demand for photographic film would be offset by increased demand for electronics.

"There had been a lot of misconceptions against silver because of the photography issue," he said. "It's more than offset by the increase in demand from the industrial sector."

Great Panther is one of several juniors that have set out to revive dormant mining operations in traditional silver-producing countries, such as Mexico.

Great Panther's Topia mine started production last December, and production at another project called Guanajuato is scheduled to hit full stride by the end of this year. With those two assets, Great Panther expects to produce 2.6 million ounces of silver a year.

The interest is coming from more than just industrial demand. The market is awaiting the launch of a new exchange traded fund that will buy and hold physical silver to capitalize on rising prices. The ETF would hold about 130 million ounces of silver, an amount equal to more than 15% of annual silver demand, and just over the 120 million ounces of known above-ground inventory.

"An ETF will create new demand for silver, as silver bulls currently have difficulty investing in the metal, other than a handful of silver equities and through silver coins," said Michael Curran, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets in a note to clients yesterday.

Global demand for silver is about 800 million ounces a year, with only 600 million ounces coming from mines. The remainder comes from the recycling of used photographic film or the above-ground stockpiles.

"There's been a renewed investor interest that didn't exist two years ago," said Robert Quartermain, president of Silver Standard Resources Inc. The Vancouver-based junior has a portfolio of 16 silver exploration properties.

"People looking at the inroads of digital cameras assumed it would impact industrial demand for silver, when in fact silver's main use is in the manufacture of electronic components -- your Palm Pilots, cellphones, your BlackBerrys and so on. That's the driving force," Mr. Quartermain said.

This is all great news for companies just starting to tell their story.

Silver Eagle, a privately-held company, recently raised $7-million in private financing for its exploration project in Mexico. Silver Eagle is contemplating a public offering.

"We're not here with three years' worth of work into this just because the silver price has gone up," said Peter Karlechuk, spokesman for Silver Eagle.

And Jorge Ganoza Durant, president of Vancouver-based Fortuna Silver Mines Inc., expects his company to produce its first silver this year.

Mr. Durant's company recently bought the Caylloma silver mine in Peru, which has an estimated 7 million ounces of reserves. Fortuna has just invested in upgrades to the mine's processing plant and improvements to underground access.

"It's a turnkey project for us," said Mr. Durant, a 36-year-old mining engineer whose family once owned an operating silver mine in Peru. He recently hired his father as a company vice-president to help run the new operations.

"I've been in the mining business since I was two years old," Mr. Durant said.
© National Post 2006
So there you go.

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks
Immanentizing the eschaton since 1987.
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Old 03-30-2006   #2
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Lots of info there Bill. thanks.


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Old 03-31-2006   #3
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Thanks. The final article isn't very clear as to why silver prices are up so high. Photography used to be the main market for silver. Probably electronics has long surpassed that. However, I don't know anything about the silver content of electronics, so I can only guess.
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