Kodak files for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

By Lee Kaelin on January 19, 2012, 3:30 PM

Eastman Kodak, the 133-year-old iconic American company that invented the handheld camera, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Kodak has struggled for years, losing huge profits on the now redundant film-based cameras and responding slowly to market changes. Despite this, the firm still makes considerable sums on inks and related supplies.

The move follows a long-term restructuring plan by chairman and CEO Antonio Perez, who has steered the firm away from its traditional markets to printers. Since 2003, Kodak has closed 13 manufacturing plants, cutting its workforce from its 1980's peak of 145,000, to around 17,000. Its current value is around $150 million, a landslide from its $31bn valuation around 15 years ago.

"The Board of Directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak," Perez said. "Our goal is to maximize value for stakeholders, including our employees, retirees, creditors, and pension trustees. We are also committed to working with our valued customers."

He further added that employees would continue receiving wages and benefits and the firm would keep manufacturing, selling and supporting its products during the bankruptcy phase. This is largely due to the 18-month, $950 million funding it secured with Citigroup, enabling it to operate until it ends bankruptcy in 2013.

"Chapter 11 gives us the best opportunities to maximize the value in two critical parts of our technology portfolio: our digital capture patents, which are essential for a wide range of mobile and other consumer electronic devices that capture digital images and have generated over $3 billion of licensing revenues since 2003; and our breakthrough printing and deposition technologies, which give Kodak a competitive advantage in our growing digital businesses," he further commented.

As of filing, the company had around $5.1bn in assets and $6.75bn in debts at the end of September. The firm plans to sell "significant assets" during the bankruptcy according to court documents written by CFO Antoinette McCorvey. Non-U.S. assets, liabilities and production units weren't included in the filing and will continue functioning as normal.




User Comments: 14

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Rasta211 said:

Someone grab a camera, this looks like this is a "Kodak moment".

Guest said:

It's a sine of the times. Kodak never could go off at a tangemt!

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

rasta211 said:

Someone grab a camera, this looks like this is a "Kodak moment".

It is always tasteless to me when somebody makes a joke on a topic about people potentially losing their jobs, but I have to admit it was funny.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is a shame considering that there still aren't any digitals that can really compare to the quality of 35mm film when developed in a good darkroom. The problem now though is the increasing cost of film, and lazy photographers that want their photos instantly. Admittedly, I'm also one of those lazy photographers, and shoot with my dslr much more often than my trusty old Canon 1V and Olympus OM-4, though occasionally I do like to pull them out of the bag and see what happens. Film photography is an art form that can yield spectacular results with a skilled photographer, and I hope it doesn't die off completely.

I remember buying hundreds of rolls of Kodachrome when they decided to discontinue it... Real shame.

Chazz said:

This is a sad day for me. Being born and raised in Rochester,NY this will affect a lot of people that I know and love. Kodak is/was very vital to my city. Their hard times always affect us.

As well as the tradition. Elementary kids go to Eastman Kodak's old mansion on school field trips to learn about photography and film and that picture is what we all see whenever were heading downtown. Time to move on, I guess.

Guest said:

I guess now that they have filed the suits, clever..

Guest said:

stinks to see such an old company crippled =3

on a side note, my cell phone takes pictures rather well =D

gobbybobby said:

they failed at predicting the market. there loss. Too bad people will lose job, but thats the way the world works.

Guest said:

31 billion value 15 years ago to broke. Reminds me of all the inflated companies of today like google and facebook. Except kodak has actual assets/patents worth a lot much and not just make believe estimations of what a company is worth.

fly007 said:

Yeah It was very sad moment for me also . But I can predict what is going to happen to KODAK

Some Chinese Saudi Or Russian Business Tycoon will buy the company

this is really WTF moment for KODAK

Emexrulsier said:

No one to blame but themselves. They have been slow on the uptake of digital technology and ended up behind competition. In the 21st century tech is moving at at just a fast pace you have to always be one step ahead to be at the forefront of the market share.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Wendig0 said:

This is a shame considering that there still aren't any digitals that can really compare to the quality of 35mm film when developed in a good darkroom. The problem now though is the increasing cost of film, and lazy photographers that want their photos instantly. Admittedly, I'm also one of those lazy photographers, and shoot with my dslr much more often than my trusty old Canon 1V and Olympus OM-4, though occasionally I do like to pull them out of the bag and see what happens. Film photography is an art form that can yield spectacular results with a skilled photographer, and I hope it doesn't die off completely.

I remember buying hundreds of rolls of Kodachrome when they decided to discontinue it... Real shame.

I wasn't cool enough for Kodachrome, most of the film I used was TMAX-100 and Colormax-400 in drum rolls. When I found about the discontinuation all the shops around me were sold out.

I agree that people want that instant gratification. It's part of the culture now, and sure as heck beats a polaroid honestly. Then you have the people willing to settle for less, as well as the explosive proliferation of micro sensor cameras on phones which enables BOTH considerations against film.

On that point, what is up with these 8/10/12 MP on phone cameras? There's absolutely no point other than rapidly deceasing returns on light sensitivity (larger pixel size on a good sensor would do more for that) and of course, for marketing purposes.

However I respectfully disagree about the lack of quality if you're comparing SLR to dSLR. Other than the "feel of film," which is inherent to the physical film itself a decent quality modern dSLR (essentially anything beyond entry level) compares rather well if not exceeds film in terms of quantitative quality, and the magic that can be created in the darkroom can be reasonably reproduced in digital form. Of course, this is within relatively standard print sizes, under 17"x20" for instance. Film will always scale better than digital prints, especially to the very large.

Guest said:

There are cycles to everything, birth, life, death, repeat. The birth of Kodak brought photography to the masses, the birth of Poloroid brought instant photography, the birth of digital cameras and associated software brought darkroom techniques to the masses. Poloroid had died, Kodak is dying and some day the current methods will die. Death is an end to one cycle as new cycles are in various stages of birth, life and death.

RH00D RH00D said:

Wendig0 said:

This is a shame considering that there still aren't any digitals that can really compare to the quality of 35mm film when developed in a good darkroom. The problem now though is the increasing cost of film, and lazy photographers that want their photos instantly. Admittedly, I'm also one of those lazy photographers, and shoot with my dslr much more often than my trusty old Canon 1V and Olympus OM-4, though occasionally I do like to pull them out of the bag and see what happens. Film photography is an art form that can yield spectacular results with a skilled photographer, and I hope it doesn't die off completely.

I remember buying hundreds of rolls of Kodachrome when they decided to discontinue it... Real shame.

Can you explain exactly how film/darkroom can have better quality than digital? This is a serious question, I honestly don't know.

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