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95 per cent of print at risk from e-commerce – Lexmark

Thursday, 14 September 2006
By Print21

Paul Curlander, chief executive of Lexmark, hinted at continued tough times for his company with the claim that 57 million of the 60 trillion pages printed every year are at risk from the potential of e-commerce, in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.

The print identified as at risk from e-commerce is the work produced centrally and then shipped out, which includes books, magazines, newspapers and transactional statements. According to Curlander, the only documents not under threat from the electronic media are those that are produced from ‘distributed’ machines like office printers.

While this does not pose an immediate threat to the profits of companies like Lexmark, as the pages printed around the world annually are continuing to climb modestly, Curlander concedes that the rise of e-commerce has had him worried for a number of years.

“At some point we’ll see a year where the total amount of pages being generated will start to dip.”

Curlander emphasises that the role of paper has changed. While historically the function of paper has been to transport and store information, increasingly this storage and transportation will be performed electronically.

“The role of paper as you go forward is going to be for personal productivity, and it’s going to be for a collaboration between an enterprise and its customers.”

The comments follow what has been a difficult year for Lexmark. The company announced in January the details of a cost-cutting exercise that would see 800 staff lose their jobs with the number recently rising to 1000. The changes were in response to its disappointing financial results last year that saw its shares plummet by a third.

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