Kodak news on the way

Nearly eight months after Eastman Kodak Co. said it was studying “strategic alternatives” for its Health Group, we finally get something vaguely resembling news on that topic: expect an announcement no later than Feb. 8.

From a Kodak press release:

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 27 – Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) today provided details on its previously announced annual strategy meeting with investors scheduled for February 8, 2007 in New York City, and its planned fourth quarter 2006 earnings announcement.

Kodak also indicated that it is making significant progress in completing its study of strategic alternatives for its Health Group, as well as final preparations for launch of its inkjet initiative. The company expects to make public announcements on both programs in early 2007.

“Our intention to meaningfully participate in the inkjet market and our decision to define a new strategic direction for our Health Group are understandably of interest to our investors, and I am mindful of our commitment to provide updates on both of these initiatives by the end of this year,” said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are pleased with our progress to date and we fully expect to make definitive announcements on both of these important business initiatives on or before February 8.

“As we proceed through the exploration of strategic alternatives for our Health Group, the interests of our customers and employees are of primary focus. As always, we will continue to meet the needs of our customers in the same high-quality fashion that they have come to expect from Kodak,” said Perez.

Reading through the Corporatespeak, that means roughly, “We haven’t forgotten about this.” That’s slightly hard to believe, based on Kodak’s displays at recent vendor expos, which suggested business as usual. Hardly reassuring for potential customers, which probably is why the Health Group went on the block in the first place.