Business

Lexmark Notebook: 'Minor impact' from Japanese disasters

The disastrous earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan earlier this year is expected to affect Lexington-based printer maker Lexmark International.

Chief Financial Officer John Gamble Jr. said in the company's recent first-quarter conference call with analysts that Lexmark expects a "minor impact" on the availability of laser printers but no effect on inkjet printers in the second quarter.

There's expected to be "some limited" impact on hardware availability and the revenue that comes from it during the second half of the year, "but we believe at a manageable level," Gamble said.

The company does not expect any impact on the availability of ink and toner during the year.

While Lexmark doesn't have a manufacturing or logistical presence in Japan, the company does have a "number of partners that were impacted by this crisis," said CEO Paul Rooke.

Gamble noted that sales in Japan in 2010 were about $16 million, less than 1 percent of overall sales. The company's first quarter sales in the country were not "significantly impacted, but we are expecting to have limited sales in Japan in (the second quarter)."

Annual meeting results

Lexmark recently held its annual stockholders meeting, which saw a change of leadership. CEO Paul Rooke succeeded retired CEO Paul Curlander as chairman of the board of directors at the event. Curlander had announced his retirement from CEO duties in October but had stayed on as the board's executive chairman until the annual meeting.

Besides Rooke, other directors elected included Ralph E. Gomory, Jared L. Cohon, J. Edward Coleman and Sandra L. Helton.

After the meeting, the board elected W. Roy Dunbar to serve as a new director. Dunbar is the chairman of private companies working in renewable energy and green construction. He previously was chairman and CEO of Network Solutions from 2008 to 2009. He has also worked for Mastercard International and Eli Lilly.

For a second consecutive year, stockholders approved the company's say-on-pay advisory vote. Stockholders had approved the executive compensation proposal brought by sponsor Amalgamated Bank in 2008 and 2009 before the company's board agreed to implement it after the 2009 vote.

The vote is non-binding and merely reflects the stockholders' view of whether they approve of the company's executive compensation policies. As part of a federal law passed last summer, stockholders also voted and the board later approved that those votes should be held annually.

For the first time in more than a decade, the meeting was held outside Lexington. It was hosted in Shawnee, Kan., the location of the company's recently acquired Perceptive Software subsidiary.

"Perceptive Software is a big part of Lexmark's growth plans moving forward," said spokesman Jerry Grasso. "It was important for our board of directors to get on site to understand how they move the ball forward."

Market share improving in key segment

During its recent quarterly earnings, Lexmark disclosed market share data that suggests it's gaining a better foothold in U.S. office superstores.

The company released data from research firm The NPD Group that showed the company held 10.l percent of the market for inkjet printers priced more than $100 that were sold in those stores in 2010. That's up from 5.8 percent in 2009.

For inkjets priced at more than $200, Lexmark held 12.7 percent of the market, up dramatically from just 0.8 percent in 2009.

The company has shifted its inkjet printers to focus more on business users rather than mass-market consumers. As such, it has cut its distribution in mass market stores and focused more on retailers like Office Depot, Staples and OfficeMax, where business users shop.

"As we move upstream, we're getting traction," Grasso said.

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