Failing to keep pace with digital age 132-yr-old firm files for bankruptcy
The century-old US camera pioneer Eastman Kodak, which brought photography to the masses, filed for bankruptcy yesterday after years of failing to keep pace with the digital age.
"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," CEO Antonio Perez said in a statement.
Digital casualty: The photography giant is filing for bankruptcy after
failing to keep pace with the digital age placing over 19,000 jobs at risk.
"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 added.
The company said it had sufficient liquidity to continue operating normally and paying employees during the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. Its foreign subsidiaries were not subject to the proceedings, it added.
The Rochester, New York-based company, which dates back to 1880s, led the way in popularising cameras, slide projectors and home videos that preserved the memories of generations of Americans.
But it has struggled in the age of digital cameras, and years of poor performance had already forced it to lay off 47,000 employees and close 13 manufacturing plants and some 130 processing labs since 2003.
"Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetising non-core IP (intellectual property) assets," Perez said.
The bankruptcy filing places the jobs of Kodak's 19,000 remaining employees in question. At its height in the 1980s, it had 1,45,000 workers.
Kodak's books have been awash with red ink for years. The last time it reported a net profit was a small gain in 2007.
Officially established by inventor George Eastman in 1892, Kodak developed handheld Brownie cameras that were sold at popular prices and furnished the film that would keep consumers pumping profits into the company for decades.
Kodak also obtained a $950 million, 18-month credit line from Citigroup so it can keep operating during the bankruptcy process, which it expects to complete in 2013.
The number of Academy Awards the company has to its name. The most recent was received in 2008 for the development of photographic emulsion technologies.
The number of US patents Kodak engineers were issued between 1900-1999