Photography Giant Kodak Files for Bankruptcy

Posted January 19th, 2012 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
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U.S.-based Eastman Kodak Company, synonymous with photography for more than a century, has declared bankruptcy, eclipsed by the very technology it helped create.

The 132-year-old company that once dominated the camera and film industry has not turned a profit since 2007. The appeal of its film and handheld cameras has been overtaken by that of digital photography.

Kodak said Thursday that it and its U.S. subsidiaries are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It said non-U.S. subsidiaries were not included.

The company says it has worked out a credit plan with Citigroup for $950 million to keep it afloat as it reorganizes. Plans are to concentrate on producing printers and other non-photo products.

Ironically, it was the Kodak company that first developed digital photography technology. Now, having fallen behind its competitors, it is selling off its technology patents in the fight to survive.

The company responsible for the first photos taken on the moon has shed thousands of jobs in recent years years and is expected to continue cutting workers during its reorganization. From its peak of 145,000 workers in the 1980s, Kodak is down to 19,000.

Kodak’s hometown of Rochester, New York, once a “company town” has seen Kodak employment drop from 60,000 to just 7,000.

Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez said the bankruptcy filing is “a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak.”