Printer Maker's Bankruptcy Causing Parts Shortage

A bankruptcy filing in March by former printer manufacturer Genicom Corp. is still having a ripple effect on some users and resellers that are having trouble finding parts and supplies for printers sold under the Compaq Computer Corp. and Genicom brand names.

Chantilly, Va.-based Genicom filed for Chapter 11 protection March 10. That continues to cause major headaches for users such as Kurt Huddleston, MIS manager at The Inland Group Inc., a property management business in Oak Brook, Ill.

Huddleston last week said he has been having problems getting a new printing drum for an eight-month-old Compaq-branded laser printer that was made by Genicom and is still under warranty. He was also unable to get toner and developer solutions for a different Compaq-branded model made by Genicom, a situation that eventually forced him to resort to using substitute products from Hewlett-Packard Co.

"We've been calling Genicom [about getting a new printing drum], and they can't provide the part," Huddleston said. "They just say they don't have any and they don't anticipate getting any in." Huddleston added that he also tried pursuing the matter with Compaq's field service organization but was unsuccessful in finding the needed part.

Last month, Genicom's printer unit was sold to Genicom Acquisition LLC, a newly created affiliate of Sun Capital Partners in Boca Raton, Fla. Richard Marks, senior vice president for product and business development at Genicom, said the company is aware of users' concerns and is turning itself around following the bankruptcy and sale.

"We're working very closely with Compaq to take care of their customer base," Marks said. Neither company will walk away from serving those users, he added.

Randy Schatz, a Genicom sales vice president, said the situation should be drastically improved by the end of next month.

Two resellers that deal with Genicom confirmed that parts availability has been difficult since March.

"Everyone is having problems," said Kirt Southerland, a spokesman for Vital Analysis Consulting Services Inc. in Shorewood, Ill. "Nobody can get these parts right now." He added that Genicom's bankruptcy is also affecting shipments of parts for the printer business of the former Digital Equipment Corp., which Genicom bought three years ago.

Les Brown, printer division sales manager at American Computer Hardware Corp. in Santa Ana, Calif., said the parts shortage has been frustrating for his customers. "The whole Genicom marketplace is in disarray," he said.

Officials at Compaq weren't available for comment on the Genicom situation at press time.

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