As was speculated earlier this month, the Eastman Kodak Company has filed voluntary petitions for chapter 11 business reorganisation with a bankruptcy court in the US.
The move, which essentially sees Kodak entering a protected period and taking credit of $950 million, is the last throw of the dice for a legendary brand that is firmly on its death bed.
The camera and printer company, established in 1892, has been feeling the financial strain for a number of years. Despite being an early pioneer of the digital camera, many believe that its focus on film and the budget side of the compact camera market has contributed to its decline.
"Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation," said Antonio M. Perez, chairman and CEO.
"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. Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetising non-core IP assets. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company.
"After considering the advantages of chapter 11 at this time, 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," Mr. Perez continued. "Our goal is to maximise value for stakeholders, including our employees, retirees, creditors, and pension trustees. We are also committed to working with our valued customers.
Perez went on to state how Kodak's patents had generated over $3 billion of licensing revenues since 2003 and it is thought that it could be the company's patent portfolio that is its last chance of survival.
Kodak had previously tried to sell off its patents to avoid bankruptcy, but failed to gain any interest. Dark times indeed for one of the most recognisable brands in photography.
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