Eastman Kodak has offices and labs at the Miami Valley Research Park. JIM WITMER

BREAKING: Kodak to keep Kettering business

Eastman Kodak is retaining its Prosper inkjet business, which means the business unit located in Kettering will remain there, the company said Friday.

“There are no plans to move the business from Kettering,” a spokesman for the Rochester, N.Y.-based company said this morning.

CHANGE IN PLANS: Observers initially thought Kodak would sell unit to Xerox

The company said the unit performed well enough in 2016 to justify keeping it.

“This is a pragmatic decision given the improvements in the business and the offers received,” Jeff Clarke, Kodak chief executive, said in a statement. “Prosper performed well in 2016 with a 40 percent increase in annuity sales for the full year.”

The CEO added that Kodak expects its enterprise inkjet systems division to be profitable this year, including its next-generation Ultrastream investment. Kodak has presented Ultrastream as a further advancement in inkjet technology.

Kodak said Friday it will begin delivering Ultrastream “evaluation kits” to 17 companies, including Fuji Kikai, GOSS China, Matti, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Printing & Packaging and others to explore how to use the technology.

Kodak expects products built on Ultrastream technology to go to market in 2019.

About 400 people work at Kodak’s office and labs at the Miami Research Park and a major part of its business there has been the Prosper inkjet program. The site is Kodak’s largest operation outside of its headquarters in Rochester.

Gregg Gorsuch, development director for the city of Kettering, said Kodak did a “nice job” of keeping city administration up to date during the sale process. The company had told city officials that the Prosper inkjet business was doing well.

“Kodak has been a great corporate citizen for us for many years, and it looks like that will continue,” he said.

Gorsuch said he did not know if Ultrastream portended more possible jobs in Kettering. He said the site still has about 400 employees.

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