A judge has approved Kodak's plan to emerge from Chapter 11 as a commercial printing business more than a year after the company, unable to keep up with the explosion of digital photography, filed for bankruptcy protection.
Kodak is hoping to put into effect its new strategy as soon as September 3.
The once iconic company has sold off most of its former properties, including many of its patents and the camera-making business that made it a household name.
Revenue had dropped from more than $13 billion in 2003 to $6 billion in 2011.
“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," said Kodak Chairman and CEO Antonio Perez in a statement. "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.”
But as the Rochester, N.Y. based company prepares to shift into a new era, the transition won't be without pain.
“Many are losing their retirement benefits,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper said of Kodak’s turnaround plan. “Many are finding their recovery as a creditor is just a minute fraction of what their debt is from Kodak. (Kodak’s) decline and bankruptcy is a tragedy of American economic life.”
Creditors will get about 4 cents on the dollar, and existing stock will be canceled. The company, which once employed 65,000 people, will now shrink down to about 2,000.