Eastman Kodak has gained court approval to come out of bankruptcy as a much smaller digital imaging company. The company, once the biggest name in photography, had planned to come out of bankruptcy in July.
Eastman Kodak was founded in New York more than 100 years ago and pioneered the use of film in cameras.US bankruptcy judge Allan Gropper agreed to the company’s plans, meaning it should be back trading in about two weeks. Eastman Kodak Co. filed for bankruptcy protection last year, pushed out of business by the emergence of digital photography which killed off mass demand for film.
Since then, the company has sold off a number of its business and patents. It now plans to specialise in printing. Kodak’s legal representative, Andrew Dietderich, told the court the company bore little resemblance to its former self: “Kodak is a different company that the one in the popular imagination and very different from the one that filed for bankruptcy.”
Although a majority of shareholders approved the bankruptcy plan, some former employees and others objected to it. Creditors are only expected to get back some 5% of the money they are owed, and shareholders will come last in the queue. Earlier this year, Kodak secured a deal to sell its film and printing businesses to its UK pension fund for £419m ($650m).
But it filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2012 after falling behind in the race to produce digital photographic equipment.