In early January 2012, Kodak, didn’t exactly have a “Kodak moment” when they filed a petition for bankruptcy. At that time, the company, known for distributing photographic equipment and handling photographic printing products, had already laid off thousands of workers and closed factories and photo labs around the country due to digital competition. Its efforts to compete with the digital revolution had cost over $3 billion. The business had become unsustainable.
Kodak’s Plan to Rebuild
Recently, Kodak made a move to exit bankruptcy by reorganizing their company. U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Allan Gropper approved their reorganization plan, which moves them out of the position of consumer based photography company and into the realm of commercial printing. The company is maintaining a positive outlook.
“Next, we move on to emergence as a technology leader serving large and growing commercial imaging markets- such as commercial printing, packaging, functional printing and professional services- with a leaner structure and a stronger balance sheet,“ says Kodak CEO Antonia M. Perez.
What Does This Mean for Kodak Employees and Investors?
Those who invested in Kodak are getting a raw deal. Secured creditors will be paid in full, but those who were unsecured will only get a portion of their investment, receiving at most 5 cents on the dollar. Kodak shareholders won’t receive any payment. Additionally, Kodak plans on laying off another few thousand current employees by the time the bankruptcy reorganization is finished. But with the reorganization, Kodak is planning on selling nearly $406 million of new stock, and plans to be a leader in the field of technology.
To you, Kodak was synonymous with photos, but to your grandchildren, it may come to mean something completely different.
What Does This Mean For Photography?
The field of photography is still going strong, and will continue to grow and change. Companies that can afford to keep up with the pace of technology and customer demand will adjust business strategies. As a consumer, you still have the ability to buy affordable camera equipment, film, and can develop your pictures as you please.
It’s easy to get nostalgic about the decline of a powerhouse photo company that’s become engrained in our everyday lives, the company name itself even becoming an adjective for priceless moments in life. One thing is for certain though – although companies can dissolve, your photos of those priceless moments don’t have to since photo scanning will always remain the most powerful way to back up photo collections and share them with friends and family.
Photo Credit: A Vahanvaty