HP to Produce Laser Printers in Brazil

SAO PAULO (03/01/2000) - Hewlett-Packard Co. announced today it is beginning to produce laser printers in Brazil. The company will make investments of US$48 million [M] over the next three years to drive the initiative. The idea is to export the printers to the major countries in Latin America, including Argentina.

The devaluation of the Brazilian currency, the real, is not a contributing factor in establishing a local production facility, according to Carlos Ribeiro, president of HP Brazil. "The fiscal incentive and the possibility of exporting contributed positively in the decision," he said.

The first models are already available and belong to HP's LJ2100 family. The printers are aimed at small-workgroup users and have a print rate of 10 ppm (pages per minute). In April, HP intends to produce faster printers, such as the LJ4050 models, in Brazil. Without going into specific detail about prices, Ribeiro said that the printers produced here will cost 12 percent less than currently available products.

In order to evangelize laser printer technology in Brazil, HP is betting on three concepts -- color, extra features and Web capabilities, according to Neal Martini, vice president for HP's LaserJet Group.

"With the adoption of the Web in the corporative environment, color became an incredible tool to improve documents," Martini said. HP will also enable its new printers to act as fax and copy machines, he added. The company will include Web features such as a JVM (Java virtual machine) inside all of the printers during this year, Martini said.

HP Brasil has 45.5 percent of the laser printer market in the country, according to market research company International Data Corp. (IDC). With local printer production in place here, the company hopes to grow its market share in Brazil beyond 50 percent within a short period of time.

The company also announced the launch of an investment bank in Brazil that will provide customers with the necessary finances to buy complete solutions from HP. No details were available today on the project, with HP officials saying that information will be forthcoming within the next 90 days.

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