Canon (CAJ) is a Japan-based professional and consumer imaging solutions company and patent-holder of digital imaging technologies. The company’s products also include business office equipment, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, television broadcast lenses and devices used for eye examinations. We think that Canon is an attractive investment due to its formidable technological innovation and strength. The company holds several patents for the products it manufactures, giving the firm a measure of exclusivity. Over the past 10 years, Canon has consistently ranked second or third each year among the top 10 corporations awarded U.S. patents. The firm enjoys an original equipment manufacturer relationship with Hewlett-Packard that has spanned 25 years. Over the past few years, Canon has been Hewlett-Packard’s sole source for printers and Laser Beam Printers (used primarily by businesses). In addition to its core products, Canon also sells the related consumables, resulting in considerable supplemental cash flow. Management has repurchased almost 13% of outstanding shares since 2005, and plans are in place to continue stock repurchases.
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