History in the making…
On Tuesday, the bankruptcy Judge gave his approval for Kodak to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. That means that Kodak will no longer have oversight from the bankruptcy court. Kodak stock was frozen at the end of the day and anyone that still owned stock will not be getting anything as new stock will be issued.
Much has happened since Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in Jan. 2012. They sold off their “Kodak Gallery” web business to Shutterfly. They sold off 1,100 digital patents to a consortium but for much less than they expected. Kodak dropped sponsorship of the theater in Hollywood that is now known as the Dolby Theater. They stopped selling inkjet printers although the cartridges are still available. They stopped selling digital cameras including pocket video cameras. There are still digital cameras on the market branded Kodak but they are made by JK Imaging, Ltd. who are licensing the Kodak brand.
Kodak sold off their power plant, water and sewer systems in Eastman Business Park (formerly Kodak Park) to Recycled Energy Development (RED). Kodak has set up a environmental trust fund for past contamination within Eastman Business Park including past contamination of the Genesee River from Kodak’s sewage.
Kodak stopped paying for health insurance for approximately 56,000 retirees and surviving dependents at the end of 2012. This hit many retirees very hard as they had been told that they would have health care forever. Pensions have been in a separate fund for many years and Kodak wasn’t able to get a hold of that money. So retirees will still have pension checks coming.
Kodak sold off their personal imaging division to the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan. They claimed Kodak owed them $2.8 billion but instead the Pension Plan gave Kodak $650 million for the division. This includes 35mm film, one time use cameras, kiosks for printing digital images, and document scanners. The new name for this company is Kodak Alaris.
So what left for Kodak? They maintain that they will be in graphic printing and packaging business. They also are continuing to make film for Hollywood movies even though most studios have told theater owners that they will stop sending film to theaters within the next few years. Hopefully that will be enough for the new slimmer Kodak to start making money and stay out of the bankruptcy court.
On Sept. 4, 1888 George Eastman was granted a patent for the box camera. Also on that date he registered the trademark “Kodak.” The Kodak box camera was one of the first simple cameras, making photography easy enough for everyone. The original model had enough film for 100 pictures and you had to send the camera back to Kodak for processing and to be filled with another roll of film.