(LegalLaw247.com, August 25, 2013 ) Midwest City, OK -- U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper approved Kodak’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy on Tuesday. The company filed for bankruptcy protection last year. As the company re-enters the market, it will be much smaller with a focus on commercial and packaging printing. The camera making segment, which made Kodak a household name a century ago, will be gone as well as millions of dollars in investments, manufacturing facilities, supply contracts and scores of workers. Kodak said it plans to exit bankruptcy protection as early as Sept. 3.
Dean of the University of Rochester, Mark Zupan said, "They still have people with immense skill and who know how to win. But it's also a team that has gone through hell for the last 10 to 20 years. It has been like constant water torture." The torture began with a wave of competition from Japan and capitulated with the company’s inability to shift from film to digital technology. After struggling with growing debt, Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection last year and since then has sold off most of its patents and businesses. However, Zupan said Kodak has retained its R&D for an alternative for a key composite used in the manufacturing of touch-screen display screens.
At the start of Tuesday's hearing, Kodak attorney Andrew Dietderich told the court, "Kodak is a different company than the one in the popular imagination and very different from the one that filed for bankruptcy." Judge Gropper noted that the lose of health care benefits and retirement income for many former workers as well as pennies on the dollar for investors in the company was part of the restructuring. Gropper said, "So at a time of admitted tragedy, let us take a moment to dwell on the future and hope that Kodak will be successful." As part of a deal, the company sold its personalized and document imaging businesses to its U.K. pension plan for $650 million. The sale settled $2.8 billion in claims sought by the retirement fund.
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