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Kodak to exit bankruptcy a different company

Wednesday - 5/1/2013, 5:40pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eastman Kodak plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection by the end of September after shedding most of the businesses that turned it into an American icon.

The reorganized Kodak will focus instead on commercial imaging and printing, where it believes it can once become profitable, according to its bankruptcy reorganization plan.

Founded in 1880, Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection at the beginning of 2012. It had survived for years on the remnants of its old business -- particularly its early patents for consumer digital cameras that eventually replaced the film business.

It has been selling bits of the company through most of the past year.

On Monday, the Rochester, N.Y., company said it was selling its personalized and document-imaging businesses to its U.K. pension plan for $650 million. The pension plan will settle its $2.8 billion claim, and clear the way for the photography pioneer to exit bankruptcy protection between July and September.

The deal also includes kiosks that consumers use to make prints of digital photos. Kodak has sold about 100,000 of those kiosks, the company said.

The pension plan will be able to use the Kodak name for things like film and film cameras, and Kodak will provide the supplies and services needed to operate the consumer film business.

Late last year Kodak sold some 7,500 patents to a consortium of buyers for $527 million. It sold its online photo sharing and printing business to Shutterfly in May 2012 for $23.8 million. And in October it licensed its name to be used on consumer digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and portable projectors.

It will also no longer make digital picture frames, or home computer printers. Sales of ink for those printers are declining but it expects to keep selling ink profitably through next year.

The reorganization plan, filed late Tuesday with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, has Kodak focusing instead on commercial imaging and printing. It says it should be able to make money by supplying the electronics, chemicals, and printing surfaces used for commercial and graphics customers.

It also plans to provide professional services to commercial and digital printing markets.

Old shares Eastman Kodak Co. will be canceled, which is typical in bankruptcy cases. New shares will be issued, mostly to creditors.


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