Lexmark (NYSE:LXK) is a commercial enterprise printer and software company, positioned in the Technology Hardware, Storage & Peripherals industry. Lexmark itself has seen a steady rise in stock prices over the past few years, which should continue to occur due to its successful and visionary restructuring plan.
A little history
The market potential of Technology Hardware, Storage & Peripherals is limitless, but it hasn't always been- especially regarding the business of printer hardware. In the first decade of the new millennium, Lexmark primarily made its money from ink cartridges. By giving away or selling its Inkjet printers for an artificially low price, Lexmark created a market for the cartridges themselves. This business model worked until customers became irate with the poor quality of the printers and the astronomically high prices of ink.
Printer induced breakdown: a thing of the past
In 2012, Lexmark exited the Inkjet printer scene. These cheap printers were the primary culprits of the Office Space-esque printer frustration experienced in households nationwide. Luckily, Lexmark saw the writing on the wall in 2012, effectively pulling out of the Inkjet business. Other printer competitors, like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Canon (NYSE:CAJ), weren't as fortunate, mostly due to their lack of adaptability to consumers' interests.
Canon and HP still sell the frustrating Inkjet printers, but each company is investing in other areas of business as well: HP in Personal Systems, Software, and Financial Services, and Canon in high end laser printers to produce quality physical copies of images taken with its cameras. Both companies reallocated assets, but not to the same extent as Lexmark, and not nearly as effectively.
Adapt and succeed
Unlike Canon, Lexmark noticed that consumers were increasingly displeased with the products it offered. Instead of continuing to fight the uphill battle of keeping its ink profitable and appeasing the customer's wishes, Lexmark decided to restructure itself. The company downsized and changed its primary profit-making objective from ink sales to commercial enterprise printing and software. This decision put Lexmark on the path of achieving higher revenue in a more stable part of the industry.
Things are looking up
In a withering printing industry, Lexmark's restructuring caused its stock price to bottom out, and it has only risen since. From July 2012 to now, Lexmark boasts around a 125% stock price increase. This extravagant growth can be attributed to the company's new business strategy: provide industry solutions to many different companies that can utilize its software and hardware combination. Today, Lexmark's website includes a tab for "Industry Solutions" which expands into a drop down list of industries ranging from banking to telecommunications. It has poised itself to provide a full range of services for a vast array of industries, effectively making any workplace more efficient and easier to navigate.
Clear skies ahead
Perceptive Software, acquired by Lexmark in 2010, grew revenue 18% in the first quarter of 2014, accounting for more than a fourth of the company's entire revenue. Lexmark expects the software side of business to continue growing, as the company frequently receives contracts from corporations in many industries, especially health care syndicates.
In addition to software, Lexmark is investing in laser printing and supplies to provide for its commercial enterprise hardware. Laser supplies revenue increased 9% throughout the quarter.The future looks bright for Lexmark. Just recently, International Data Corporation, or IDC, declared the company a leader for managed print and document services. The report also vouches that Lexmark is especially globally consistent and knowledgeable in many different industries, two traits that align perfectly with its new business plan. Investors can expect Lexmark's market share to continue growing as it transitions from a printer hardware company to an industry leader in enterprise printing and software.
Andy Kazewych has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.