Canadian Packaging

Bankruptcy protection – a Kodak moment

Inventors of the hand-held camera, Eastman Kodak files for bankruptcy protection.


January 19, 2012
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Eastman Kodak, the 133-year-old firm that invented the hand-held camera, has filed for bankruptcy protection in an effort to reorganize itself while protecting itself from baying creditors. It also allows Kodak to maintain a business-as-usual look for customers.

While Kodak has recently decided to step-away from its origin story of the camera business to instead refocus on the manufacture of quality printers, it was indeed its reluctance to quickly embrace the digital camera age.

In fact, Kodak may have been one of the inventors of the digital camera back in 1992 and could have been ready for release by 1993, but there were fears within the company that it would eat into its film business.

Kodak was indeed a money-making machine from the sale of its camera film, but when the digital camera arose, Kodak failed to react, not wanting to eliminate the way its business was founded. Now with very few people except purists purchasing camera film, Kodak needs to reinvent itself.

Fortunately, it has been working well with the manufacture of home and commercial printers – but that has not been enough to halt the company’s decline in profitability.

Says Kodak chairman and chief executive officer Antonio Perez: “The board of directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this (seeking bankruptcy protection) is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak.”

The company said it had already arranged a $950-million credit note from Citigroup.

The bankruptcy protection move by Kodak affects its operations and companies in the US, but the company said its non-US subsidiaries were not included in the move and would continue to operate as usual.

In an attempt to find that silver plate, Kodak, along with its printer business, is also focusing on the software and packaging aspects. Kodak has renamed its business units as consumer and commercial.

Kodak employs 19,000 workers, but it is not known how many may be affected by the reorganization. In its 1980s heyday, the company employed 145,000 people in locations throughout the world.






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