Judge approves Kodak's plan to emerge from bankruptcy

Pioneering photography company has been operating under Chapter 11 while it restructured to focus on digital imaging.

Kodak
Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

Eastman Kodak has gained court approval for its plan to emerge from bankruptcy as a "leaner" company focusing on digital imaging.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper approved Kodak's plan on Tuesday in New York, paving the way for the struggling photography pioneer to emerge from bankruptcy in two weeks.

"It will be enormously valuable for the company to get out of Chapter 11 and hopefully begin to regain its position in the pantheon of American business," Gropper said.

Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2012, citing $6.75 billion in liabilities and assets of $5.1 billion. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company blamed its decline on high pension costs and consumers' shift to digital imaging.

A stipulation of the $950 million loan Kodak received from Citigroup to stay in business required it to sell off some of its intellectual property. In January, Kodak announced it had sold about 1,100 imaging patents for $527 million to a group of technology companies that included Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Facebook, BlackBerry, and Samsung Electronics.

The company expects to exit bankruptcy protection on September 3, Chief Executive Antonio Perez said in a statement.

"Next, we move on to emergence as a technology leader serving large and growing commercial imaging markets -- such as commercial printing, packaging, functional printing, and professional services -- with a leaner structure and a stronger balance sheet," he said. "There are additional transactional steps ahead as we complete our Chapter 11 restructuring, but with the court's decision today, our emergence is now imminent."

 

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