Final frame for 131-year-old photography icon?
Eastman Kodak, the company synonymous with film photography and the launch of the digital camera, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.
Rumours about Kodak preparing to file for bankruptcy initially began circulating earlier this month.
The move should ensure the company can stay afloat as it reorganises ‘in the best interests of its stakeholders’. Kodak will continue trading as normal, and, subject to Court approval, the company has secured a $950 million credit facility from Citigroup. It also confirmed that it expects to continue paying employee wages and supplying goods and services.
In a statement issued by Kodak on Thursday, Antonion M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer thanked employees for their hard work and loyalty, and expects to complete restructuring of the US business by 2013.
“At the same time as we have created our digital business, we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs, and reducing our workforce by 47,000 since 2003,” said Mr Perez.
“Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetizing non-core IP assets. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company.”
A key element of Kodak’s strategy is to protect its digital capture patents. According to Kodak, licensing revenues over the past 9 years have generated more than $3 billion for the company.
Kodak has been actively chasing alleged patent infringements in the past few weeks, with both Fuji and Apple feeling the heat.
Indeed, at almost the same time as issuing its bankruptcy statement, Kodak announced that it was filing a lawsuit against Samsung for alleged patent infringements.
The complaint alleges that ‘certain’ Samsung tablets are in breach of 5 of Kodak’s digital imaging patents, including ‘Capturing Digital Images to be Transferred to an E-Mail Address’.
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