Kodak has announced that it will focus on commercial, packaging and functional printing activities as part of its 'successful emergence from Chapter 11 reorganisation'.
Kodak added it hopes these sales will be completed by the first half of 2013 and combined with the expected sale of several billion dollars’ worth of digital imaging patents will leave the company in a strong financial position when it exits Chapter 11 sometime next year.
Eastman Kodak chairman and chief executive Antonio Perez said in a statement: "We are reshaping Kodak. We continue to rebalance our company toward commercial, packaging and functional printing – in which we have the broadest portfolio solutions – and enterprise services. These businesses have substantial long-term growth prospects worldwide and are core to the future of Kodak."
In an interview with PrintWeek, Chris Payne, Kodak’s vice president of commercial marketing added: "With regards to the commercial printing business we believe the steps that we’ve taken are the right path forward. If you look at the technologies we have…and you look at the needs of the broadest commercial printing marketplace, including packaging and personal printing and other things being printed within that scope, there’s a lot of opportunity."
Payne continued: "The market is changing and we believe there is a very good long-term opportunity not only for where we are today but for as we move our business forward. We had a very good drupa—the response from customers to our technologies, our products and solutions was better than we thought. It’s very clear that we have a lot of things that we can offer to our customers that drive value to their business."
Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January of this year and the company continues to try to sell its digital imaging patent portfolio. Several companies, including Apple, have filed suit trying to block the sale of some of those patents, but to date judges have been ruling in Kodak’s favor.
But there is some speculation that Kodak’s patent sale, which is considered a major key to its financial health going forward, may not generate the billions that many have expected.
Payne would not speculate on that, saying: "We’re not able to talk about what we expect to happen with the patent sale because we’re under a court process so we’re not going to speculate either way where we are with the patent sale itself."
But he added: "When you look at the financial piece, if you look at some of our filings from a couple of weeks ago there’s a lot of improvements in our business that combined with yesterday’s actions show we’re certainly on the right path."
Payne also dismissed concerns about any permanent damage to the Kodak brand, noting: "If you go back to January, we didn’t really understand at that point how our customers would react, but we do know that today. Customers have reacted very positively and favorably to where we are, so I don’t see that being an issue at this point."
The company noted that in addition to the commercial, packaging and functional printing and enterprise services businesses, it will still own a handful of other businesses such as Consumer Inkjet, Entertainment Imaging and Commercial Film, which includes film for Hollywood movies and its Chemicals businesses.
The Personalized Imaging business consists of Retail Systems Solutions (RSS), makers of more than 100,000 KODAK Picture Kiosks, as well as a large broadest portfolio of traditional photographic paper and still camera film products. Document Imaging is primarily focused on scanners, capture software and services to enterprise customers.
Payne added he didn’t expect the sale of the two divisions will trigger an influx of workers from those operations over to commercial printing. "In general we have really great people on the commercial printing side and there will be some people that move backwards and forwards across divisions," he explained. "But in general, in selling the personalized imaging business and the document imaging business, most of those people will go with those businesses."Tweet
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