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Dennis Hissink : January 12th 2005 - 07:00 CET

Fujifilm relies on quality, not quantity

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FujifilmFujifilm relies on quality, not quantity : Two very different trends dominate Fujifilm Europe GmbH's current economic scenario. While consumer products show a slight decline, the industrial sectors are producing healthy growth rates despite adversary market trends. "Although the German subsidiary of the world's largest photo-imaging conglomerate has been prepared for the lightning-speed changes in the imaging industry for years, the flooding of the market with digital cameras has had a substantial impact on the development of the German business," Helmut Rupsch, General Manager, reported in a press interview. He further explained that in the past year it has been particularly difficult to generate profits in the hardware sector.
Fujifilm relies on quality, not quantity
"We rely on quality rather than quantity," Helmut Rupsch comments. This makes the most economic sense. "Development in the imaging business gets positive marks. Substantial growth rates and additional market potential are being reported. In 2004 alone, two billion photo prints were generated from digital sources, that is double the number of 2003. Fujifilm benefits from this trend through its Frontier series digital minilabs, its relevant photographic paper, its digital data input terminals as well as its corporate subsidiary labotories. In the pre-print and medical technology sectors, strong growth rates could be attained in spite of difficult general market conditions and declining market trends. Overall, a single-digit decrease in sales volume must be expected for the fiscal year ending on March 31.

Fujifilm relies on quality, not quantity - Balance sheet in black
Nevertheless, Fuji Photo Film (Europe) GmbH's balance sheet will be in the black. Structural adjustments are evident in all sectors. For more than 20 years, the company has readied itself for the digital revolution and is therefore adequately equipped for the future. In the medical technology field, the transition from radiology film to computer-supported radiology graphics and digital patient files in hospitals is being realized. In addition to film and printing plates, Computer to Plate (CTP), color management and on-demand printing systems are now being launched into the pre-print sector. Consequently, digital photography is replaceable by conventional film in these applications. In mid-range planning, "vision 75" directs the company's strategy to accommodate these ever-changing market trends. Investments in strategically crucial sectors and growth markets are being made on this basis. The goal is to attain sustainable growth through corporate financial stability and targeted research investments. In consumer products, special emphasis is being placed on the imaging sector, where there is still potential for growth.

Fujifilm relies on quality, not quantity - Room for growth
Unlike camera sales, this business produces permanent volume and customer loyalty. The future looks especially bright for the Minilab product segment featuring the Frontier series. "It offers retailers an excellent opportunity. Digital photographers essentially want the same thing conventional photo enthusiasts are looking for: prints in the best possible quality at the lowest possible price, easily available. We're expecting gigantic growth rates in the imaging business," says Rupsch. "The current print shop infrastructure does not yet meet the demands of the market. The ratio of drop-off locations for prints from film and prints from digital sources is 35,000 : 11,000. There is clearly room for growth, which goes hand in hand with an opportunity for print service providers to gain loyal and regular customers. Fujifilm is an excellent partner for retailers who want to profit from this future growth.

Fujifilm relies on quality, not quantity - Increased profits
"The outlook in the printing and medical field is very bright indeed. Both branches are producing increased sales volumes and profits despite adverse general conditions. In the printing sector, the most important category - CTP plates - grew by approximately 40% over the last year. Electronic Imaging and Digital Proof are also yielding positive results. Additional future growth is expected to come from consulting activities, digital printing technology and new partnerships. Digital Radiology Graphics promise to further increase the growth opportunities in the medical sector, where Fujifilm's Computed Radiography systems are conquering the market. Fujifilm is the market leader in digital mammography thanks to its systems' excellent reputation. They are known for highest quality diagnostic performance. In the booming digital radiology market, the company saw double digit increases. Pediatric medicine and the growing Computed Radiography field in veterinary applications are new business segments for the company.Fujifilm's own SYNAPSE system for the digitization of hospital IT infrastructures (PACS) is gaining market share. The most recent installations were performed in Duesseldorf and at a four-location clinical network in Baden-Baden. Established vendors respect Fujifilm as a viable competitor in numerous bids. The company's own web-based technology for the exchange, processing and archiving of patient data in the radiology and clinic environment have become key segments of our business and will be further expanded. "Lifescience" - a completely new sector - is currently being developed. The pan-European sales launch of these DNA analysis products is slated for this FY's second quarter.

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