Lexmark lays off 1,700 and euthanizes its inkjet printer business

Image Credit: Office Space

Printer manufacturer Lexmark is in trouble today, announcing it’s letting go of 1,700 workers and is killing off its struggling inkjet printer business.

The layoffs represent about 13 percent of the company’s workforce, including 1,100 manufacturing jobs. Overall, the restructuring is expected to cost $160 million over three years and to return ongoing annual savings of $85 million in 2013, increasing to $95 million annually by 2015.

“Today’s announcement represents difficult decisions, which are necessary to drive improved profitability and significant savings,” said Lexmark CEO Paul Rooke in the company’s official statement on the news.

“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.”

Inkjet printers are without question a consumer product, and consumer interest in buying, maintaining, and actually using home printers is decidedly flagging. With cloud-based document management services (including totally virtual “faxing” and e-signature services) popping up all around the web, consumers now have access to more affordable, faster, and more environmentally friendly options than Ye Olde PC Load Letter.

The laser printer business, however, will remain at Lexmark; these machines are still going strong in businesses and the enterprise.

Lexmark will shutter its Cebu, Philippines, inkjet supplies manufacturing facility by the end of 2015. It will kill its inkjet development activities worldwide, from facilities to contract to remaining inventory, by the end of 2013. Advisors are helping Lexmark sell of its inkjet printing technology as well.

Through dividend payments and share repurchasing, Lexmark said it will have returned more than half a billion dollars to its shareholders since mid-2011 — this in spite of a 30 percent decline in share price, a 41 percent decrease in net income, and an 11 percent drop in revenue year over year:

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