Kodak bankruptcy: Has Kodak gone kaput?

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    Kodak bankruptcy is making headlines across the world. The US camera giant that was struggling for years with dwindling profits and losing edge over other emerging companies has filed for bankruptcy.

    But I will be wrong if I say that it surprised many. The move is on expected lines as the company had failed to keep its house in order.

    There have been reports and speculations doing the rounds since mid 2011that Eastman Kodak may file for bankruptcy. At one point, the company employed more than 60,000 people in Rochester alone in upstate New York, where it was born more than 130 years ago. Now, that number is closer to 7,000 – and it has been decades since the company, once synonymous with photography, began its downward slide.

    The company had been struggling on many fronts. Kodak’s multiple layers of debt, unfunded pension obligations, and its inability to find new markets to replace its once reliable film business had kept investors worried. Reports suggested for long that those investors had been talking to law firms and restructuring advisory firms.

    Kodak CEO Antonio Perez told media “We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company…”Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetizing non-core intellectual-property assets. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company”.

    A long time Kodak watcher say, “Kodak has neither the managerial nor engineering talent to compete in today’s market. They’re a minor player in the digital field, ditto printers. They would have been better off retaining the film business and improving the product. Sure it’s a niche market, but the demographic is strong and increasing”. The company was registered in the year 1888 by George Eastman. For more than a century it was the most well known company for millions of people across the world as it brought photography accessible to masses.

    The company still has some hope from the US government as a report suggest that “The loan and bankruptcy protection from U.S. trade creditors may give Kodak the time it needs to find buyers for some of its 1,100 digital patents, the key to its remaining value, and to reshape its business while continuing to pay its 17,000 workers”.