Lexmark International Inc  (LXK)
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    Sector  Technology    Industry Computer Hardware
   Industry Computer Hardware
   Sector  Technology

Lexmark International Inc

Business Description

Lexmark is a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of printing solutions -- including laser and inkjet printers, multifunction products, associated supplies and services -- for offices and homes. Lexmark develops and owns most of the technology for its laser and inkjet products and associated supplies, and that differentiates the company from many of its major competitors, including Hewlett-Packard, which purchases its laser engines and cartridges from a third party. Lexmark also sells dot matrix printers for printing single and multi-part forms by business users and develops, manufactures and markets a broad line of other office imaging products. The company operates in the office products industry. The company is primarily managed along business and consumer market segments.

Revenue derived from international sales, including exports from the United States, make up about half of the company's consolidated revenue, with Europe accounting for approximately two-thirds of international sales. Lexmark's products are sold in over 150 countries in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Pacific Rim and the Caribbean. This geographic diversity offers the company opportunities to participate in new markets, provides diversification to its revenue stream and operations to help offset geographic economic trends, and utilizes the technical and business expertise of a worldwide workforce.

The laser printer market is primarily serving business customers. Laser printing products can be divided into two major categories -- shared workgroup printers, which are typically attached directly to large workgroup networks, and lower priced desktop printers attached to PCs or small workgroup networks.

The shared workgroup printers include color and monochrome laser printers that are easily upgraded to include additional input and output capacity, additional memory and storage, and typically include high performance internal network adapters.

The inkjet product market is predominantly a consumer market but also includes business users who may choose inkjet products as a lower priced alternative or supplement to laser printers for personal desktop use. Additionally, over the past two years, the number of consumers seeking to print digitally captured images in their homes have driven the photo-based sector up significantly. The greater affordability of inkjet printers, as well as the growth in the inkjet-based multifunction devices (all-in-one printers), both with a focus on delivering digital photos, have been important factors in the growth of this market. Based on industry data, Lexmark has gained market share over the past six years.

Lexmark employs large-account sales and marketing teams whose mission it is to generate demand for its business printing solutions and services, primarily among large corporations as well as the public sector. Sales and marketing teams focus on industries such as financial services, retail/pharmacy, manufacturing, government, education and health care. Those teams, in conjunction with the company's development and manufacturing teams, are able to customize printing solutions to meet customer specifications for printing electronic forms, media handling, duplex printing and other document workflow solutions.

The company distributes its products to business customers primarily through its well-established distributor network, which includes such distributors as Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Synnex and Northamber. The company's products are also sold through solution providers, which offer custom solutions to specific markets, and through direct response resellers.

The markets for printers and supplies are extremely competitive. The laser printer market is dominated by Hewlett-Packard, which has a widely recognized brand name and has been estimated to hold approximately 50% of the market. Several other large vendors such as Brother, Canon, Samsung and Konica Minolta also compete in the laser printer market.

As more data is distributed electronically, demand has risen for increased device functionality to include print/copy/fax/scan capabilities, resulting in a convergence of the distributed printing and copier markets. This converging marketplace is highly competitive and, in addition to the traditional laser competitors, includes large copier companies such as Canon, Ricoh and Xerox.

The company's primary competitors in the inkjet product market are Hewlett-Packard, Epson and Canon, who together account for approximately 80% of worldwide inkjet product sales. As with laser printers, if pricing pressures are not mitigated by cost and expense reductions, the company's ability to grow or maintain market share and its profitability could be adversely affected. In addition, the company must compete with these same vendors for retail shelf space allocated to printers and their associated supplies.

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