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Kodak expects to exit bankruptcy as soon as July

DVD's by Eastman Kodak Co are displayed in a retail store in San Diego, California, April 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake
DVD's by Eastman Kodak Co are displayed in a retail store in San Diego, California, April 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - Eastman Kodak Co said on Tuesday it expects to emerge from bankruptcy as soon as July as a commercial imaging business under the control of its creditors.

It said in court documents filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan that it expects to issue new stock with the majority of it going to its second-lien note holders.

The holders of the second-lien notes include investment funds P. Schoenfeld Asset Management, D.E. Shaw Group and Bennett Management Corp.

A new board will be appointed and the company said the new directors will be identified later.

The company did not say how much it expects to pay its unsecured creditors, who are owed as much as $2.2 billion, but they would also receive some shares in the reconstituted Kodak.

Kodak's bankruptcy plan is subject to a vote of creditors and court approval. Kodak must first gain court approval for its disclosure statement which describes its bankruptcy plan and the risks associated with it and is meant to help guide creditors in their voting on the plan. A hearing on the disclosure statement is expected in June.

Kodak sought protection from creditors in January 2012 after it failed to embrace modern technology and became one of the biggest corporate casualties of the digital age. The company said it had $6.75 billion of liabilities when it entered Chapter 11 reorganization.

Kodak's bankruptcy exit plan comes a day after it clinched a key deal to sell its personalized imaging and document imaging businesses to its UK pension fund for $650 million. The pension fund also agreed to give up a $2.8 billion claim against Kodak, resolving the biggest unsecured claim in the bankruptcy.

Rochester, New York-based Kodak launched its first camera in 1888 and grew to dominate the market for photographic film. Although Kodak invented the digital camera, it put the project on the back-burner and spent years watching rivals stake a claim to the market while physical film sales plummeted.

The company hopes to put all that behind it once it exits bankruptcy and focuses on selling printing equipment and services to businesses. It said on Tuesday that it expects its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to increase to $494 million in 2017 from an estimated $167 million this year.

It expects revenue to climb from an expected $2.5 billion this year to $3.2 billion in 2017, although that would still be below the level in 2011, its last full year before it filed for Chapter 11.

Prior to its bankruptcy filing, the company had not had a profitable year since 2007.

Kodak's pink-sheet shares fell 7 percent to 37 cents on Tuesday. Although the stock has risen from 30 cents per share on the day Kodak filed for bankruptcy, the company said shareholders will get nothing and their stock will be canceled when Kodak exits Chapter 11.

The bankruptcy case is In re: Eastman Kodak Co, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-10202.

(Reporting By Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Daniel Magnowski and Matt Driskill)

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