Kodak

(EK)

stumbled again Friday, swinging to a steep quarterly loss on an unexpected sales drop.

For its first quarter ended last month, the Rochester, N.Y., photo shop lost $142 million, or 50 cents a share, reversing the year-ago continuing operations profit of $8 million, or 3 cents a share. Sales fell 3% from a year ago to $2.83 billion.

The results fell way short of the Wall Street analyst consensus estimate. Kodak said that removing nonoperational charges from the latest quarter turned the loss into a meager 3-cent-a-share profit, but analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been expecting 33 cents.

Similarly, sales dropped 3% as reported and 5% on a constant-currency basis, the company said, reflecting an 18% drop in the company's old-line photo paper business and a 23% rise in its digital photo operation. Analysts had forecast flat sales.

"While the first quarter's performance was disappointing, such short-term volatility is to be expected as we transform Kodak into a digital company," said CEO Daniel A. Carp. "We remain committed to increasing the value of the company over the long-term by delivering on our annual plans. We expect to do that in 2005 and beyond."

Kodak said it expects to make $2.60 to $2.90 a share on an operating basis for 2005.

Kodak closed Thursday at $30.40.