July 14, 2008

News from Reuters and The Press Association this week of Photo-Me’s continued woes — the company’s stock, which lost 84% of its value in the last year, fell 6 percent more this week — but they are hoping for “one-digit solid profitable growth” next year, in the words of CEO Thierry Barel.

As for the news of more losses, an analyst offered this choice quote:

The results were just what we were looking for… The photo-booth business just throws off money.”

Hmm. That doesn’t sound good. The Reuters article continues, “[Barel] had considered selling the core vending business, which is suffering as passport agencies move to centralised biometric data collection, but the board had received no acceptable offers.” The failed sale led to losses totalling “£14.8 million of one-off items.” We previously covered Photo-Me’s attempts to sell off its photobooth division in 2006 and 2007.

Barel continued, “There is a risk of further deterioration in photo booths… We decided to accelerate diversification to depend less and less on photo booths.” So, if the booth business “throws off money,” passport agencies are moving away from accepting photobooth photos for identification, and no other companies are interested in buying Photo-Me’s photobooth division, what happens next? What does the future hold for the the thousands of photobooths around the world owned by Photo-Me? 

One person who might have an answer is Hugo Swire, the news chairman of Photo-Me, who is profiled in a recent piece in the Telegraph that is definitely worth a read. 

Brian | 8:05 am | In the News

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