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Howtek hit with declining sales

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Film digitizer firm Howtek had a difficult 1997. While the company did show some improvement on the bottom line, Howtek's revenues declined 30% for the year.Revenues were $7.9 million, compared with the $11.3 million reported in the same period last

Film digitizer firm Howtek had a difficult 1997. While the company did show some improvement on the bottom line, Howtek's revenues declined 30% for the year.

Revenues were $7.9 million, compared with the $11.3 million reported in the same period last year. The Hudson, NH-based company had a net loss of $832,000, compared with a net loss of $6.1 million in 1996.

In the fourth quarter (end-December), revenues were $2.1 million, a 34% dip from the $3.1 million reported last year. Howtek had a net loss of $1.3 million, compared with a net loss of $746,000 in the same period in 1996.

To make up for declining sales volume, Howtek is developing a plan to broaden its product line by securing new scanners and related products from other manufacturers on an OEM basis. Howtek would then privately label the new products. Price reductions on certain products are planned, and the company is also evaluating additional complementary products and markets.

One key area of focus in the future will be its x-ray film digitizer offerings. Commercial production has begun on the firm's first compact, automated-feed x-ray film digitizer, and Howtek views the x-ray market as a substantial growth opportunity.

The company has also instituted some cost-containment measures. On Jan. 30, Howtek significantly reduced the number of employees, as well as certain operating expenses. Improved budgeting and cost controls were also implemented.

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