History in the making…
This was a good week for Kodak.
They announced that they sold their digital imaging patents. Kodak had been told by experts that the patents were worth over $2 billion. They ended selling the patents for $525 million. They were sold to Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corp which are intellectual property groups that will make the patents available to Corporations within those groups. Those corporations include; Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Fujifilm, Google, Huawei Technologies, HTC, Microsoft, Research In Motion, Samsung and Shutterfly. Each of those companies will have equal use of the patents. This will give Kodak a good influx of cash that they need to emerge from bankruptcy.
There were three Town Meetings this week for retirees in the theater in building 28 at Kodak. The first half hour was an overview by Scott Williams, a lawyer that represented the Official Retiree Group recognized by the US Bankruptcy Court. After that was a question session which lasted for about an hour. I didn’t hear any different than other communications that me and other retirees have already received. There are differences as to what is available to retirees based on when they retired. Videos of all three of the Town Meeting are online here. After the session was over, I wandered around the public areas of bldg. 28. I was surprised how much is gone since I retired 3 years ago. ESL (bank) is closed. The Kodak store and even the employee shoe store are sitting empty.
A new organization, KREBA, has been formed to distribute money received from Kodak through the Bankruptcy Court. Current people receiving Survivor Income Benefits (SIB) will be receiving up to $400 a month for 18 months. People that elect to purchase COBRA insurance will get a 10% refund from KREBA for 2013. KREBA could receive future money if Kodak successfully emerges from bankruptcy. Then there might be more money available to retirees. That will hardly make up for all we retirees have lost through the Kodak bankruptcy.
On Friday, Kodak announced it reached an agreement with Recycled Energy Development (RED) to take over operating the utilities at Eastman Business Park. The main power plant at the Park needs $40 million in upgrades to comply with state and federal regulations. Instead, RED plans to convert the coal-fired power plant to natural gas. RED plans to invest between $40,000 and $80,000 in the Park and says it will retain all current jobs. RED will have control of electricity, steam, water, refrigeration, compressed air, and nitrogen, as well as wastewater treatment. RED believes that they will eventually be able to sell excess electricity to the public power grid.