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Lexmark pulls out of inkjet business

Lexmark has confirmed that it is to cease manufacturing inkjet printers, resulting in the loss of 1,700 jobs.

The company is well-known for its cheap printers, offering a wide variety of low-cost hardware. Sales, however, have been slow, and a slide into debt is to be halted with the sale of the company's entire inkjet business.

"Today's announcement represents difficult decisions, which are necessary to drive improved profitability and significant savings," claimed Paul Rooke, Lexmark's chair and chief executive officer. "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 organisation. As we move forward, we remain confident in our strategy, competitiveness and ability to create value for shareholders,"

As well as the closure of its inkjet printer division, the company's restructuring exercise will see its cartridge manufacturing facility in the Philippines closed by the end of 2015. All development work on inkjet printing is also to be ceased, with all equipment and stock sold off.

The news doesn't mean that Lexmark is leaving the printing market altogether. As Rooke's announcement explains, the company is looking to claw its way back to profitability by concentrating on higher-value laser printers for businesses.

In the short term, Lexmark's exit from the inkjet market could spell savings for consumers: as the company sheds its stock, expect to see Lexmark-brand inkjet printers being sold at considerable discounts. While the closure of its official consumables plant could prove troublesome, compatible cartridges from third-party manufacturers should remain available for some time yet.

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