“Eastman Kodak Co, which invented the hand-held camera and helped bring the world the first pictures from the moon, has filed for bankruptcy protection, capping a prolonged plunge for one of America’s best-known companies,” Nick Brown, Caroline Humer and Jonathan Stempel report for Reuters.
“The more than 130-year-old photographic film pioneer, which had tried to restructure to become a seller of consumer products like cameras, said it had also obtained a $950 million, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup to keep it going,” Brown, Humor, and Stempel report. “The loan and bankruptcy protection from U.S. trade creditors may give Kodak the time it needs to find buyers for some of its 1,100 digital patents, the key to its remaining value, and to reshape its business while continuing to pay its 17,000 workers.”
Brown, Humor, and Stempel report, “Kodak once dominated its industry and its film was the subject of a popular Paul Simon song, but it failed to embrace more modern technologies quickly enough, such as the digital camera — ironically, a product it even invented. Its downfall hit its Rust Belt hometown of Rochester, New York, with employment there falling to about 7,000 from more than 60,000 in Kodak’s heyday. Its market value has sunk to below $150 million from $31 billion 15 years ago.”
“In its bankruptcy, Kodak could try to restructure its debts, or perhaps sell all or some of its assets, including the patent portfolio and various businesses. It is unclear how Kodak will address its pension obligations, many of which were built up decades ago when U.S. manufacturers offered more generous retirement and medical benefits than they do now. Many retirees hail from Britain where Kodak has been manufacturing since 1891,” Brown, Humor, and Stempel report. “The company had promised to inject $800 million over the next decade into its UK pension fund. It now remains unclear how that country’s pension regulator might seek to preserve some or all of the company’s obligations to British pensioners.”
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