New York - Eastman Kodak, which invented the hand-held camera and
helped bring the world the first pictures from the moon, has filed for
bankruptcy protection, capping a prolonged plunge for what remains one of
America's best-known companies.
The 130-year-old photographic film pioneer, which had tried
to restructure to become a seller of consumer products like cameras, said it
had also obtained a $950m, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup to keep it
"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," chairperson and CEO Antonio
M Perez said in a statement.
Kodak said that it and its US subsidiaries had filed for
Chapter 11 business reorganisation in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of New York. Non-US subsidiaries were not covered by the filing, it
Kodak once dominated its industry and its film was the
subject of a popular Paul Simon song, but it failed to quickly embrace more
modern technologies such as the digital camera - ironically, a product it even
Its downfall has already hit its Rust Belt hometown of
Rochester, New York, with employment there falling to about 7 000 from more
than 60 000 in Kodak's halcyon days.
In recent years, Perez has steered Kodak's
focus more toward consumer and commercial printers.
But that failed to restore annual profitability, something
Kodak has not seen since 2007, or arrest a cash drain that has made it
difficult for Kodak to meet its substantial pension and other benefits
obligations to its workers and retirees.
Perez said bankruptcy protection would enable Kodak to
continue to work to maximise the value of its technology assets, such as
digital-imaging patents it licences for use in mobile and other devices and its
Kodak said it is being advised by investment bank Lazard,
which has been helping Kodak look for a buyer for its 1 100 digital patents.
Other advisers include business-turnaround specialist FTI
Consulting, whose vice-chairperson Dominic DiNapoli will serve as chief
restructuring officer for Kodak, supporting existing management.